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memorH 

By LORD REDESDALE 



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Cornell University Library 
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Memories /. 




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Cornell University 
Library 



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the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924024873170 



MEMOniES 



Memories* : ; By 

Lord ^desdde, G.C. V.O., K.C.B. 

With ttuo photoffravure plates and 16 other tltastrations 



VOL. I 




NEW YORK: 

E. P. BUTTON AND COMPANY 

681, FIFTH AVENUE 



'B'777(^7 



Printed in Great Britain 



To MY WIFE AND CHILDREN 
FOR WHOM THESE 
MEMORIES OF MANY YEARS HAVE BEEN RECORDED 
I DEDICATE MY BOOK 



PREFACE 

Now that the midnight of life is at hand, before the last chime ol 
the curfew must ring out, I have been busying myself in writing down 
memories of the people who brightened its morning, its noon and 
its evening. It was my fate long ago to be associated with men 
older, sometimes much older, than myself, and so it happens that 
few indeed of the friends of my early manhood are now left. Except 
where it is absolutely necessary in order to tell the rest of my tale, 
I have not dealt with the living. To praise them might seem 
sycophantic, to blame them an impertinence. It would be over- 
bold in me to write a chronicle of my own days were I not able 
to say with Horace : 

" tamen me 
Cum magnis vixisse invita fatebitur usque 
Invidia." 

My life, indeed, has been largely spent amongst men who in 
many lands have made the history of their time. The story of 
their public achievements is, or will be, written in the annals of 
their countries. The story of their private lives is often unknown 
to, and therefore put on one side by, their biographers. To rescue 
from oblivion here and there some intimate feature, some petty 
detail which may help to make known the real personalities of 
such men — perhaps to remove a wrong impression — is the humble 
object of this book, and it is to the shades of those who did so 
much for me that I offer it as a grateful tribute. 



I HAVE to thank Sir Ernest Satow for allowing me to check by 
his own journals and records what I have written about the adven- 
turous years which we spent together in Japan. I must also express 
my gratitude to Mr. Edmund Gosse for much encouragement and 
patient advice — without his sympathy these pages would hardly 
have seen the light. To the Editor of the National Review I am 
indebted for permission to reproduce an article which has appeared 
in his pages. Similar thanks for the use of an article on Lord 
Lyons in the Candid Review are due to Mr. Gibson Bowles. 



CONTENTS 

VOL. I 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. — The Cradle and the Race i 

II. — Frankfort — Paris — ^Trouvh-le .... 30 

III. — Eton 50 

IV. — Summer Holidays 78 

V. — ^Wales and Oxford 90 

VI.— The F. O 108 

VII. — Lord Lyons 131 

VIII. — ^The Wedding of the Prince of Wales . . . 161 

IX. — My Brother. Music and the Drama . . . 189 

X. — Russia 204 

XL — ^The Winter of 1863-1864 232 

XII. — ^Through the Winter 346 

XIIL— Moscow 287 

XIV.— The First Call of the East 307 

XV.— China in 1865-1866 328 

XVI.— Peking 343 

XVIL— Peking 356 

XVIIL— Japan 373 

XIX. — The Shogun or Tycoon 386 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

VOL. I 



The Author {photogravure) .... 

Photograph by Furley Lewis, Esq. 
Portrait: in Memory of Bertram Ashburnham 

From Gwillim's Heraldry. 
The Ruins of Mitford Castle ..... 

From a drawing, dated August, 1769, by J. Mitford {Lord 
Redesdale). 
William Mitford ..... 

From an oil painting by John Jackson, R.A. 
The Ashburnham Family .... 
Edward Craven Hawtrey, D.D., Eton College 

A sketch by a sixth form boy. 
Fire-place in Evans' House 

From a water-colour sketch by W. Evans. 

Mario ........ 

By Lord Leighton, P. R.A. 
Embassy House, St. Petersburg 

From a water-colour drawing by Charlemagne, 
The Dead Emperor Nicholas I. 
The Emperor Alexander II. . 

From a sketch by Zichy. 
The Emperor Alexander II. . . . 

From a sketch by Zichy. 



Frontispiece 
Facing page 



1864. 



14 

26 
52 

64 

192 

206 

252 
264 

272 



MEMORIES 

CHAPTER I 

THE CRADLE AND THE RACE 

Nam genus et proavos et quae non fecimus ipsi, 

Vix ea nostra voco. ' 

OF course it was not good taste in Ajax to brag so loudly of 
being the great-grandson of Jupiter, but then Ulysses need 
not have snubbed him so fiercely, and then gone on to show how 
he, too, was god-born, but on the mother's side as well as on the 
father's. Nor was it quite consistent in Ovid, who struggled so 
proudly for his privileges as eques in the theatre, to clothe these 
SociaUst sentiments in a pair of hexameter lines ; but then, in 
spite of that Uttle flirtation with a naughty Princess, which caused 
his banishment, Ovid was a Radical and a poet, which gave him a 
double claim to inconsistency. 

The sentiment is, as it seems to me, utterly false and untrue to 
the very nature of man. From the earliest times, and even in the 
most savage races, men have been proud of such ancestry as they 
could lay claim to, and many a poor peasant loves to tell you that 
he is living in the cottage that his forebears have held for generations. 
Pride of Race and Pride of Country go hand-in-hand as two forms 
of Patriotism. i 

In 1862 poor Laurence Oliphant and I — ^he, the most charming 
of companions, just beginning to be bitten by mysticism — ^were 
travelling together on the Continent. He was still suffering 
from the cruel wounds which he received In the night attack 

VOL. I I 



Memories 



by Ronins on the Legation at Yedo in 1861. He had been 
ordered to drink the iron waters of Spa, and I agreed to go with 
him for my summer holiday. The first evening at the table 
d'hote dinner, I sat next to a very agreeable gentleman with 
whom I speedily made friends. After about half an hour's talk 
he asked my name. I told him who I was. " Dear me," he said, 
" if you are the son of Mr. Mitford of Exbury and Lady Georgina 
Ashbumham, you are descended from perhaps the two oldest 
Saxon families in England. Sir, you are a very remarkable 
person." I felt as Whistler, in his quaint way, told me that he 
did when Carlyle used the same words to him, " That that was 
about what was the matter with me ! " and when I asked who was 
my genealogical acquaintance, he turned out to be no less an 
authority than Sir Bernard Burke. 

But in matter of genealogy, as in all others, there are iconoclasts, 
and now come people of much learning, who declare that the Saxon 
Mitfords are really Norman Bertrams, and that the famous Ash- 
bumhams, " of stupendous antiquity," are the descendants of a 
Norman family who were Counts of Eu— in Domesday Book 
variously called Estriels, Escriol, Criol, Crieul, or Anglicized as 
Kiriell, and even Cruel. That after all these centuries, and after 
such countless marriages as must have taken place in them, so 
curious an animal as a man of pure Saxon blood, or, indeed, of any 
pure blood, should still be in existence is, of course, an impossi- 
bility. It may be rank nonsense to talk of the Mitfords and the 
Ashburnhams as two of the oldest Saxon families in England, 
when there can be no such fjmiilies, but there can be no doubt 
that they are both of very great antiquity. 

Of the Ashburnhams old Fuller says, " My poor and plaine pen 
is willing though unable to add any lustre to this family of stu- 
pendous antiquitie." According to Francis Thynne, a herald of 
Queen Elizabeth's time, " Bertram Ashburnham, a Baron of Kent, 
was Constable of Dover Castle in 1066 ; which Bertram was be- 
headed by William the Conqueror because he did so valiantly 
defend the same against the Duke of Normandy." This is quoted 
by the Duchess of Cleveland in her " Battle Abbey Roll," and she 
then labours with all her might to demolish the whole story. 




litis Port raUnr^ is ul mt^nuTu aj hcrcrant 
who in tli£ ryini of Km^q Hoivl? fs'oi ^■■~^. 
fff Dai'ir and ^htxxff of the said Co-urm/. ^ 
at the Lm^mg of M'tStam die Coti£ucroT,Kmff 
him aLtHir to taist all thz force under ^ 
whent)ie Xtf^ came, i-'p to oppose y Coiupicroi 
Covmnd tnthe 'Battkjnceivedfoi martq-^^ 
Andfmci wkKlvUpiic^krough tht meccq fff 
aierfince contiimed atAf'hiurnJurniq/ifreJ'aid 




Lduii Lti Daifu Jcu.ii) 
ishinirtibatn of -AJhburnham. i/i Siifsr/:.,^-^ 
Warden qf the Ctmpiepifrts, Can/tabie 
anlbeuiff-a perjj}n nfoe great po-u/er-.,^ 
^iiffl ff (^' ho i fin s',- [h ffj m ifif N(rrtfilfi'>nt--''^ 
kis Cimar0 fi? wiOislimd thz InvadanMd 
tfi£ jiai^^ertra^^ylw liS an zmmaa. ~—^ 
liTmrnds ihat fffun i^cr ?u <?i/c^ ihtreuf-. — 
g Sjthe Sm3fambjlpi,a^ect makliJi^kavc 
an tiie fr^ent fofi^^s'therkqf. - ■. 



PORTRAIT IN MEMORY OF BERTRAM ASHBURNHAM. LORD WARDEN 
OF THE CINQUE PORTS IN KING HAROLD'S TIME. 

From GwilUm's Heraldry. 



The Cradle and the Race 3 



Gwillim's " Heraldry," however, takes the other view, and makes 
out that the second holder of the office of Lord Warden of the 
Cinque Ports was this same Bertram Ashburnham, and that it was 
he who, on behalf of the King, raised the troops to resist the in- 
vasion, Harold himself being away engaged in quelling a rebellion 
in the North. " Since which time xmtil now, by the grace of God, 
there hath not been wanting an Ashburnham of Ashburnham in 
Sussex," 

Gwillim has a curious engraving of a portrait " in memory of " 
this hero in seventeenth-century armour, and the tradition in the 
family is that it was John Ashburnham, King Charles the First's 
gentleman, who sat for this very grim effigy. Then there is another 
story, for which I know not the authority, if, indeed, there be any, 
to the effect that Bertram Ashburnham defended the Castle so 
stoutly that William made terms with him and raised the siege, 
allowing the Saxon to name his own conditions, which were that 
he and his men should leave with all the honours of war, and that 
the law of gavelkind should obtain in Kent for all time. This 
brave tale, I am afraid, must be dismissed as moonshine. 

So there is much complication, but on one point all the authorities 
are agreed, and that is the marriage of the Norman knight, Bertram, 
with the Saxon heiress of Mitford ; so far as that goes, if we may 
not call ourselves a Saxon family, our Saxon descent is not denied 
to us. 

About two miles to the west of Morpeth, on a spot romantic 
enough to inspire a poet's dream, fair enough for a painter to linger 
over with a lover's delight, stand the ruins of the old Saxon castle 
of Mitford. That is the Cradle of our Race. The keep, battered 
by storms of war and weather, rises on a rocky eminence to the 
south of the river Wansbeck,* close to the point where the two 
fords of the Wansbeck and the Font meet. It was from this meeting 
that the Castle and village took their name,f just as Coblenz 
did from the confluenUat of Rhine and Moselle. The rivers of 

* The name Wansbeck is derived from " want," tlie old English word for 
a mole : the beck or stream of the mole. The word, by the by, is still alive 
in Gloucestershire, where a molehill is an " unt-yeave." 

t Midford=between the fords. 

VOL, I I* 



Memories 



Northumberland, tearing their way through the rocks, between 
banks fringed with the most picturesque vegetation, overhanging 
trees, shrubs, ferns, docks, and all the fairy-like greenery which they 
wear with such grace, are the glory of that part of the country. Such 
streams as the Wansbeck and the Coquet are a haunting memory. 

Not even the most audaciously inventive of antiquaries has, 
so far as I know, been brave enough to fix the date of the Castle's 
building ; all that can be said is that it is very old. Burke, on 
the authority of the " Durham Booke," tells the story how a certain 
" Robert Mitford, Esq., carried an old writeing to produce at 
Durham upon some occasion, by wch one of ye ancestors of Mit- 
fords, of Mitford, in ye time of K. Edwd. ye Confessor, did assure 
his wife's joynture out of Lands in Mitford, wch writeing Sir Joseph 
Craddock saw and attests it under the hand but is since embezzled 
and lost." That, since the document is lost, is but a weak foun- 
dation upon which to base a belief. The tale, however, must be 
true, for William the Conqueror's advent followed almost imme- 
diately upon the death of King Edward, and that the Castle was 
at the time of the Conquest in the possession of Sir John de Mitford 
is a fact. Beyond that time we must be content to leave the 
family history lost in the clouds. 

Even so, the story is old enough, and we may well be proud 
of our old cousin Edward Mitford, the head of the family, who 
fulfilled more than his century of life in 1911, and died on the 
property and in sight of the ruined Castle which belonged to our 
ancestors some nine hundred years ago. 

Among the knights who fought at Hastings in the train of William 

the Conqueror were two brothers. Sir Robert* and Sir William 

Bertram. "Robert Bertram -ki estoit tort" (crooked) was Lord 

of Briquebec, near Valognes, a barony consisting of forty knights' 

fees, which is said to have taken its name from Brico, a Norwegian 

Viking, who was the ancestor of the Bertram family.f It was 

the well-known policy of the Conqueror to pacify England and 

• 
* Sir Robert Bertram's tiame is given as Richard in Burke's " Landed 

Gentry," where it is further said that he was a son of the Lord of Dignam 

m Normandy. 

t The Duchess of Cleveland's " Battle Abbey Roll." 



The Cradle and the Race 



consolidate his power by promoting or even making up marriages 

between his followers and the Saxons whom they had conquered — 

especially did this judicious match-making seem to be desirable 

where there was an heiress to be won. At the time of the Conquest, 

Sir John de Mitford, who owned the Castle and Barony of Mitford, 

had no son. His only daughter, Sibella, was his heiress, and 

between her and Sir Robert Bertram a marriage was arranged and 

carried into effect. 

I wonder what sort of a home it made, this union between the 

Saxon girl, of whom I like to beUeve that she was as beautiful as 

the Lady Rowena, and the Norman warrior ? Was it altogether 

a manage de convenance ? Was Sibella forced into it, or might 

he have lighted just the least httle spark of love in her breast ? — 

and when once they were married, did she live happily with her 

crooked knight ? These crook-backed men are apt to have very 

insinuating ways ; we all know how Richard the Third, when he 

made love to Lady Anne, so flattered and coaxed that her 

woman's heart 
Grossly grew captive to his honey words, 

and in my early diplomatic days, I had a colleague at a certain 
Embassy, who, though crooked as Pope himself, was declared by 
all women to be irresistible. How grateful, by the bye, we ought 
to be for that one and only record " qui estoit tort," just three 
words which give to the old story of Sibella a touch perfectly human 
and real, such as a hundred blazing tales of deeds of derring-do, 
sung by minstrels or recorded by chroniclers, could never have 
conveyed. The crook must have been true, it could hardly have 
been invented. Since walls have ears, what a pity it is that stones 
have not tongues : these old ruins could teach us so much about 
the lives that they harboured, lessons which one does so long 
to learn. 

These Bertrams must have been men of no little importance 
in their generations. The two heroes of Hastings evidently made 
their mark, and later on there is some reason to suppose that one, 
at any rate, of the family, perhaps more, joined in one or other of 
the Crusades. For in some excavations which were made among 
he ruins of the Castle in the middle of the nineteenth century. 



Memories 



the workmen came upon a tiny piece of that serpentine marble 
which the Crusaders were wont to bring home from the Holy Land 
to be set in the altars of their chapels ; the relic was found on the 
spot where the chapel is supposed to have stood. As should beseem 
Crusaders, the Bertrams were good and loyal servants of the 
Church : a pious Bertram it was that founded or endowed the 
Augustine Priory of Brinkboume in the reign of Henry the First. 

Sir Roger de Bertram joined the insurrection of the Barons against 
King John, and it cost him dear, for in retaliation his castle was 
seized and his town of Mitford destroyed with fire and sword by 
the savage Flemish hordes who then devastated Northumberland 
as the auxiliaries of the King.* In the year 1215, then, Mitford 
Castle was in the hands of the Crown, and two years later Alexander 
of Scotland, who had invaded England at the instigation of France, 
laid siege to it with his whole army, but he was beaten off, and went 
back to Scotland none the richer for his venture. King John 
granted the Castle to Philip de Ulcoves, but in the following reign 
it was restored to the Bertrams by Henry the Third. 

The next notable Bertram was that Sir Roger who, with other 
northern Barons, marched into Scotland in 1258 to rescue the 
young King of the Scots, Henry the Third's son-in-law ; but he 
got into trouble, for six years later he was one of the insurgents 
in the Barons' War, was taken prisoner at Northampton, and 
the Castle and Barony were once more forfeited and alienated 
from his descendants for four hundred years. He seems, indeed, 
to have speedily made his peace with the King, for in 1264 he was 
summoned to Parliament as Baron Bertram — ^but Mitford knew 
him no more.f This Sir Roger was succeeded by his son, who had 
only one daughter, and the Barony fell into abeyance between the 
Fitzwilliams, Darcys and Penulburys, the representatives of his 
three sisters. 

The learned labours of antiquaries and pedigree-mongers have 
so confused the story of the younger branch of the Bertrams, the 
Lords of Bothal, that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible 
to make head or tail of their several statements. It is the moi 



* The Duchess of Cleveland's " Battle Abbey Roll." 
t " Battle Abbey Roll " ut supra. 



The Cradle and the Race 7 



provoking in that it is from them that we, the Mitfords of the 
present day, are descended. From them also the Dukes of Portland, 
through a maternal ancestress, have inherited Bothal Castle. 

In the " Battle Abbey Roll " of the Duchess of Cleveland, it is 
stated that William de Bertram, who founded Brinkboume Priory, 
married a daughter of Guy de Baliol by whom he had two sons, 
Roger, Baron of Mitford, and Richard, the ancestor of the Lords of 
Bothal, who held that Barony by the service of three knights' 
fees. This is, I believe, the more probably correct story, and it 
comes into line with the evidence of the " Newminster Abbey 
Register Booke," which makes the inheritance descend to the Dukes 
of Portland from the Lady Sibella, wife of the first Lord Bertram. 

That Bothal should have been held by Sir William (sometimes 
called Sir Richard) Bertram, the brother of the first Lord Bertram, 
as some have maintained, is worthy of no credence. Why should 
an important portion of Sibella de Mitford' s property have gone to 
her husband's younger brother ? 

Burke, in his " Landed Gentry," anxious, probably, to prove a 
Saxon descent from father to son, appears to wipe out all the 
Bertrams in the middle of the fourteenth century, and makes 
Mitford (the town or village, not the Castle and Barony, which were 
forfeited) descend to Sir John de Mitford, tenth in succession to 
Matthew, the younger brother of the Sir John who was the father 
of Sibella. That we shall see is quite apocryphal, for when the 
elder branch of the Bertrams came to an end in 1311, the younger 
branch continued to flourish at Bothal, and soon adopted the name 
of Mitford, taking their patronymic from the property which the 
family had then held for two and a half centuries. 

It was to that branch that the famous Hermit of Warkworth 
belonged, whose tragic story was woven into a poem by Dr. Johnson's 
friend. Bishop Percy of Dromore, who collected the " Reliques of 
Ancient Poetry." The poem, very poor stuff, was published 
separately some years after the " Reliques." 

This Bertram was in love with a neighbouring Lady Isabel de 
Widdrington, and she returned his love, " but like a true daughter oi 

■ These northern counties here 
",Vhose word is snaffle, spur and spear,' 



Memories 



she chose to put his mettle to the test before giving him her hand. 
She sent him a helmet as her love-token, desiring him to try its 
temper ' wherever blows fell sharpest ; ' and Bertram, obedient to 
her behest, rode with his brother-in-arms. Lord Percy, on a raid 
into Scotland, where he was wounded nearly to the death in a 
desperate fray. The tidings were brought to Isabel, who, struck 
with terror and remorse, at once set out to go to him, but on her 
way was seized by some prowling moss-troopers, and carried off 
to one of their secret fastnesses beyond the border. Thus when at 
the downfall of the night her rescued Knight was carried home on the 
shields of his followers, he found his lady gone, and all traces of her 
lost. He made a vow never to rest till he had found her, and his 
brother promised to help him in the quest. As soon as his health 
permitted, they went forth together in a humble disguise, and the 
better to conduct their search, agreed to separate, the brother 
going northwards and Bertram himself to the west. For many 
weary days and weeks he wandered over moss and moor in vain ; 
till at length when he had almost lost heart, a compassionate pilgrim 
directed him to a distant peel-tower in which a lady's voice had been 
heard lamenting. 

Bertram found the place, and recognized the voice ; but watched 
the tower for two successive nights without obtaining a glimpse of 
his Isabel. On the third night, however, that he lay crouched in 
his hiding-place, he saw her descend a ladder of ropes thrown from 
an upper window, assisted by a man muffled up in a cloak, who bore 
her across the little stream and led her away, clinging fondly to his 
arm. Bertram, maddened at the sight, rushed after them with 
his naked sword, and attacked his rival, who defended himself 
manfully ; but after a stubborn conflict, Bertram succeeded in 
bringing him to the ground, and stabbed him to the heart, with the 
words, ' Die, traitor ! ' Then, when she heard his voice the wretched 
Isabel for the first time knew who he was, and sprang forward to 
arrest the blow, shrieking, ' It is thy brother ! ' She was too late, 
for the deed was done, and in the struggle to throw herself between 
them, she shpped against Bertrjim's sword, and fell pierced, by his 
brother's side. 

For that night's bloody tragedy the unhappy Bertram did penance 



The Cradle and the Race 



to the end of his days. He renounced every tie that bound him to 
the world. His sword and spear were hung up in his hall, his in- 
heritance passed on to others and his goods were given to the poor, 
while he himself, clad in monastic garb, took refuge in the rocky 
recesses of Coquetdale, near Warkworth Castle. No more ideal 
retreat could be devised for an anchorite than this lovely, seques- 
tered glen, where the hurrying Coquet stays its troubled current 
beneath precipitous cliffs, clothed with trees that spring from every 
chink and crevice of tne stone ; and from an overhanging grove of 
stately oaks above, a runlet of the purest water comes rippling down. 

Here his dwelling-place, scooped out of the living rock, remains 
almost as perfect as when he left it. It can only be reached from 
the river by a long flight of steps. Over the entrance linger the 
traces of the original inscription, ' Sunt mihi lachrymcB mecz cibo 
interdiu et noctu.' The first cell is a miniature chapel, complete 
in all its details, with a raised altar at the east end ; and on a 
recessed altar tomb beside it is the effigy of a woman, very deli- 
cately designed, but now broken and timeworn, lying with her head 
towards the east, and her arms slightly raised, showing that her 
hands have been folded in prayer. At her feet in a niche cut in the 
stone, the figure of the Hermit kneels in eternal penitence, his head 
resting on his hand. Beyond this, reached through a doorway, 
bearing on a shield the Crucifixion and the emblems of the Passion, 
is a still smaller oratory, used by the Hermit as a sleeping-place ; 
with a similar altar at the farther end, and near it a narrow ledge 
hewn out of the rock for his couch. 

Neither by night nor by day did he ever lose sight of the beloved 
effigy in the adjoining chapel ; for at the altar a window is con- 
trived through which he could see it as he knelt at his devotions ; 
and when lying on his bed, a niche cut slantwise through the parti- 
tion wall still enabled him to rest his faithful eyes upon it. No one 
knows for how many sorrowful years he lived here in penance and 
contrition, nor when death came to his release. 

Such is the touching story of the Hermit of Warkworth, who was 
of our blood, as it is related in the " Battle Abbey Roll " which I 
have so often quoted. 

Bertram's friend. Lord Percy, kept his memory green by paying 



lo Memories 



for Masses to be sung in the Chapel, and the allowance for the purpose 
was continued until the Suppression of the Monasteries, and accord- 
ing to Hutchinson, " the patent is extant which was granted to the 
last hermit in 1532 by the Sixth Earl of Northumberland." 



So the elder branch of the Bertrams disappeared in 131 1, and 
with them the name, for the Lords of Bothal speedily called them- 
selves de Mitford, which from that time forth became the family 
patronymic. " Happy the minister who does not make history " 
is an old saying which may well be applied to families, for if in the 
centuries during which our people have been Lords of Mitford, 
though they produced no great soldier, no great statesman, no 
Raleigh, no Drake, no Frobisher, no Sir Thomas More, no King's 
favourite, at any rate they kept their heads upon their shoulders. 
Political ambition was apt to be a very deadly disease, and they 
had it not. They were contented to live held in respect by their 
neighbours, to act as high sheriffs when called upon to do so, and 
sometimes to represent their county in Parliament. 

Perhaps the most distinguished of these ancestors of ours was 
Sir John de Mitford, who was Knight of the Shire for Northumber- 
land in various Parliaments during the reigns of King Edward the 
Third, King Richard the Second and King Henry the Foiuih. 
He was High Sheriff for two years, and acted as Commissioner with 
John Widdrington and Gerald Heron to tender the Oath of Allegi- 
ance to the King of Scotland. On the 20th of May, 1369, at Newton 
Hall, he received by deed of feoffment from David Strathbolgi, 
Second Earl of Athol, a grant of all his lands and tenements in the 
Ville of Molesden, to be holden of the grantor and his descendants 
by the annual payment of sixpence. It has been said that this 
transfer led to the adoption of the three moles as the family arms, 
but our family tradition, which I believe to be well founded, is that 
they were of much older date and taken from the Want's Beck, the 
mole's stream, as was the name of Molesden itself. Sir John was ih 
1386 Keeper of the Seal to Edward Duke of York for the Liberty 
of Tyndale. 

On his death he was succeeded by his elder son Wilham, who 



The Cradle and the Race n 



was, like his father, Knight of the Shire and High Sheriff in Henry 
the Fifth's reign. Then followed his son John, a pious benefactor 
of the Church, living, no doubt, in the sweetest odour of sanctity, 
who granted tenements in Newcastle to the Church of St. Nicholas, 
and gave lands in Echewicke to the Abbot and Convent of New- 
minster, to pray for his soul and the souls of his ancestors. He died 
in the sixteenth year of the reign of King Henry the Sixth. The 
following three Lords of the Manor, Thomas, Bertram and Cawen, 
were inconspicuous persons, and there is nothing to be said of our 
forebears until we come to Cuthbert, who in the sixth year of Edward 
the Sixth was with Anthony Mitford of Ponteland, Commissioner 
for the inclosure of the Middle Marches. This said Anthony was a 
rogue. Cuthbert Mitford by his first wife, Ann, daughter of one 
Wallis of AkeUd, had one son, Robert, and three daughters : failing 
that son Robert, Anthony of Ponteland would become Lord of the 
Manor of Mitford and heir to all Cuthbert's estate. To achieve 
this end he hatched a plot, seeking to prove that there had been no 
marriage between Cuthbert and Ann Wallis, and that in conse- 
quence Robert was illegitimate. 

He contrived to have his contention entered in the Harleian 
MSS., and to have Robert described as noihus natus — base 
born, but when he presented the document at the Heralds' College, 
it proved to be signed only by himself. On investigation, the lie 
was nailed to the counter, Robert's legitimacy was fully proved, 
and his arms were certified without a difference. He was what 
would be looked upon in these days as a person of rather lax opinions 
and was " presented " at the Archdeacon's Visitations " for suffer- 
inge divers persons to eate, drinke and play atte cardes in time of 
eveninge praier." In spite of the Archidiaconal thunders, he lived 
through the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James, and died in 
the first year of King Charles the First's reign at the good old age 
of eighty-eight. 

He was succeeded by his grandson Robert, both of whose parents 
had died in his infancy on the same day. This Robert is an ancestor 
of special interest for us. In the first place it was to him that 
King Charles the Second restored by grant the Castle and royalties 
of Mitford, which had been forfeit in punishment of Roger Bertram's 



1 2 Memories 



treason by King Henry the Third in 1264, and secondly it is from 
his third son, John, who left the old home to seek his fortune as a 
merchant in London, that we, the Mitfords, formerly of Exbury, 
now of Batsford, are descended. The Mitfords of Pitshill are de- 
scended from William, who was a great-grandson of the Robert 
of Charles the Second's time. 

The portraits of Robert Mitford and Philadelphia Wharton, his 
wife, are at Batsford. The contemporary frame of her picture is 
surrounded by carved oak leaves and acorns in memory of the 
famous escape of the King, and to denote her loyalty to his cause. 

Let us linger for a few more moments among the ruins of the old 
Cradle of our Race. In the dark centuries, when even if there was 
no actual war between England and Scotland, there was almost 
continuous fighting between the fierce clans on both sides, feuds and 
raids and cattle-lifting were the salt of northern life ; hatred was a 
profession, revenge the accomplishment of a gentleman. The 
border castles were seldom at rest, and Mitford fared no better than 
its neighbours. 

Dreaming on a summer's day within the, to us, sacred precincts, 
one can almost hear the grey walls ringing with the music of sword, 
spear and battle-axe clashing upon hauberk and breast-plate — 
the shouts of the fighting men mad with the lust of blood — clouds 
of arrows rattling like hail against the battlements should a head 
show itself. The borderers were gay men at fighting, and the 
Scots ever met with a hot welcome. 

After the treason of Sir Roger Bertram in 1264, wild men succeeded 
one another in the ownership of the Castle. In the year 1316 it 
was the home of a freebooter of the pattern of the Rhenish robber 
knights, named Sir Gilbert de Middleton. He was an old soldier 
of fortune, who had fought against Lewelin in the Welsh war and 
probably for that service was rewarded with the Castle and Manor 
of Mitford. But he was infuriated against King Edward, on account 
of the appointment to the See of Durham of Lewis de Beaumont, a 
cousin of the Queen's. It was said that Queen Isabella, " the 
French she-wolf," as she was called, had knelt upon her bare knees 
before the King, praying him to confer this fat Bishopric upon her 
kinsman. Sir Gilbert rebelled, proclaimed himself Duke of 



The Cradle and the Race 13 

Northumberland, and took the occasion of a mission which the King 
had. sent to Scotland, headed by two Cardinals and the Bishop of 
Durham, to swoop down upon the Embassy and pillage it on its 
return South. 

It was a mistake to attack the scarlet hat ; the Church ever had a 
long arm. Sir Gilbert was taken prisoner by Ralph de Greystoke 
(or, according to HoUinshed, by Thomas Heton and William de 
Fulton), fettered in irons and carried to Newcastle, whence he was 
shipped to Grimsby. From Grimsby he rode to London with his 
feet tied under his horse's belly, was imprisoned in the Tower, and 
dragged by horses to the gallows on the 26th of June, 1318. His 
property and goods and those of his brother were confiscated. 
(See Hodgson's " Northumberland.") 

In 1318 Mitford was the property of Adomar de Valence, Earl of 
Pembroke, and then it was that the last and fatal attack upon the 
Castle by the King of Scotland took place, and the grand old strong- 
hold that had withstood the buffets of so many sieges was finally 
laid in ruins. 

When one looks at the humble little village of Mitford to-day it is 
hard to realize that it was once a borough ! I know not how it 
may be now, but when I was a boy the old folk held firmly to their 
traditions and to the legends of the ancient greatness of the place 
there was an old rhyme which they loved to quote : 

" Mitford was Mitford ere Morpeth was ane 
And still shall be Mitford when Morpeth is gane." 

The feeling of clanship was strongly rooted in the people. In 
the fifties of last century there was still living a delightful old woman, 
one Bella Harbottle, who with her brother inhabited two, or three 
rooms, which were all that remained of the seventeenth-century 
Manor House — just a tower in an old-fashioned garden, which the 
brother tended, in the beauty of which Bacon himself would have 
taken delight. The brother and sister were specimens of a grand 
old type of northern peasantry not yet passed away, thank 
Heaven ! Their beautifully chiselled features, no less than their 
proud bearing and dignified manners, might have befitted the 
descendants of crusaders. She was always clad in an old-fashioned 



14 Memories 



lilac print gown, with a square of shepherd's plaid crossed over the 
bosom. Her delicate, high-bred face, with blue eyes, still bright and 
beautiful, was framed in the frills of an immaculate mutch covering 
her ears and almost hiding the snow-white hair ; her small feet were 
always daintily cased in grey worsted stockings and scrupulously 
blacked shoes. She must have been nearly eighty years old when I 
used to sit with her in her kitchen — the aged dame on one side of 
the hearth, the little boy on the other, listening to her old-world 
tales of the past glories of Mitford. There were always a few old- 
fashioned flowers in the kitchen-parlour, and she herself sweetly 
reminded one of lavender. The good soul was always stout for the 
rights and honour of the family. 

A gentleman who had bought a small adjoining estate built him- 
self a house just on the boundary. Every day, almost, old Bella 
would walk out, leaning on her crutched stick, to see that there was 
no encroachment. The neighbour, aware of this, and greatly 
amused, said to her one day, " You see, Bella, it is all right. I am 
not removing my neighbour's landmark." " Ah ! " grumbled she, 
with her sweet Northumbrian burr, "I'm thinkfng that you're 
building your house verra high." Even the air was sacred to the 
family of her worship. 

To the east of the Manor House Tower is the old Norman church. 
When I first went to Mitford it was a mere wreck, just sufficiently 
weather- tight for service to be held ; but it was beautifully restored 
some fifty years since by the piety of the last owner but one. 
Colonel John Philip Mitford. 

And now it is time for us to leave the north and travel south- 
ward with those who are more immediately responsible for us. 

Merchant John, then, came to London, where he seems to have 
prospered in his business, so much so as to make us wish that he 
had been furnished in his baptism with some other Christian name, 
for he became possessed of original shares in the Royal Exchange, 
the building of which King Charles the Second laid the foimdation 
stone in 1667 to take the place of its predecessor of Queen 
Elizabeth's time, which had been destroyed in the great fire of 
1666. Unfortunately there was no mention of these shares in his 
will. There is no doubt that they were the property of this par- 




WILLIAM MITFORD (HISTORIAN OF GREECE). 
From an oil painting by John Jackson^ R.A. 



The Cradle and the Race 15 

ticular John, our immediate ancestor, and when my father and the 
late Lord Redesdale tried to prove their claim to them nobody 
doubted its justice, but they were defeated by the fact that they 
could not prove that there was no other John Mitford to whom 
they might have belonged ; so there they lie in some mouldy old 
chest, more useless than dead leaves in autumn. Be this a lesson 
to those who call their sons John, or Thomas, or William, to give 
4hem some second and less usual name to make what, in armorial 
bearings, the heralds call a difference. 

Of this John and his son William there is nothing to be said, 
but the son of the latter was another John, whose marriage on the 
13th of September, 1740, with Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress 
of Willey Reveley, of Newton Underwood and Throphill in North- 
umberland and Newby-super-Wiske in Yorkshire, played an 
important part in the history of our family, for to them were born 
two remarkable sons, William, the historian of Greece, and John, 
the first Lord Redesdale. Indirectly, too, this marriage was the 
cause of a goodly inheritance coming to Lord Redesdale in 1808. 

William Mitford,* who was born on the loth of February, 1744, 
was my great-grandfather, and a man of many and various accom- 
plishments, in his youth famous as one of the handsomest men of 
his day. Not only was he a profound scholar, but he had a great 
knowledge of art ; he drew beautifully, and I have many of his 
water-colour paintings, which are of rare merit ; his sketch-books 
recording his journeys in many parts of England are even now a 
joy to look through. The Royal Academy of his day recognized 
his worth by making him their historian, an office now filled by 
Lord Morley of Blackburn. In music, also, he was an expert, 
having a practical knowledge of several instruments, and so keen 
was he that when he was an old man, past seventy, he made a 
journey into Wales, a matter of several days in those posting times, 
in order to learn the principles of the triple Welsh harp. 

He was Member of Parliament successively for Newport in 
Cornwall, Beeralston and Romney, and commanded the Hampshire 
Militia. It was as a Militia-man that he made friends with Gibbon, 
who was a brother ofiicer in the same regiment, and who persuaded 

* Painted by Jackson. 



1 6 Memories 



him to undertake the history of Greece, so that the Hampshire 
Militia had the honour of producing two classical historians — the 
one of the " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," the other 
of Greece. 

Mitford's history naturally took the Tory side in Greek pohtics : 
Grote and Thirlwall followed on the Radical side. One day 
Thomas Carlyle began talking to me about my great-grandfather ; 
Carlyle was certainly no Tory, but he praised the so-called Tory 
book far above the other two. He said " that Mitford had the 
talent of clothing the dry bones of history with Uving flesh and 
blood : he made the old Greeks speak and behave like human 
beings, breathing a living spirit into his work." The other two 
were so dreary and dull that they provoked no sympathy in him. 

Beyond all this the old Colonel, as he was called, was a very 
skilful forester and gardener. I possess an old, much-worn 
pruning knife with a horn handle which he always carried about 
when he was engaged in his favourite pursuit of landscape garden- 
ing. When a boy, he and his brother had been at school at Mr. 
Gilpin's academy. Later in life he was able to present Gilpin 
to the living of Boldre in Hampshire. This led to the writing of 
the famous " Forest Scenery," which Gilpin dedicated to his former 
pupil and subsequent patron. Gilpin's brother was Sawrey 
Gilpin, R.A., the animal painter. 

It happened that in the spring of 1862 my father, having some 
business to transact with his agent and being unable to attend 
to it himself, sent me down to Exbury to act on his behalf. Mr. 
Lewis Ricardo, who was the tenant at the time, hearing that I 
was going there, very kindly offered me bed and board, saying 
that, though he was detained in London, his housekeeper would 
look after me. She made me very comfortable, and after a light 
dinner and a pint of claret I went to bed. In the dead of the 
night I was awakened — a:s it seemed to me — ^by a most uncanny 
noise in the room over my head. Someone was dragging a very 
heavy weight up and down the floor ; then I heard the door open, 
and the footsteps came down the stairs pulling the weight, bump, 
bump, bump, until whoever it was reached my door. Then there 
was silence for a minute or two, and presently the weight was 



The Cradle and the Race 17 

^ 

dragged up again, biimping as before, the door of the upstairs room 
was opened, the weight was dragged across it, and all was still. 

I must have been dreaming all? the time, for, though I was in 
deadly fear of I knew not what, it never occurred to me to get up 
and see what awful being it was that was standing so mysteriously 
outside my room. But the whole thing was so vivid that the next 
morning I asked the housekeeper who had occupied the room 
above me that night. Her answer was that the room had been 
empty and locked and the key in her possession. 

When I got back to London I told my father what I had heard. 
He was a good deal startled, and replied that one of his grand- 
father's eccentricities had been, after a long day's literary work, 
to go up into an empty upstairs room and pull a heavy trunk about 
for exercise. I had never, so far as I knew, heard this, before ; 
but it is possible, if it be true that in our sleep we sometimes 
remember things long since forgotten, that I might in years gone by 
have been told of the old man's whim, and that the fact of sleeping 
in that house struck some chord of a vanished memory ; as my 
father spoke, it almost seemed as if my presence had roused the 
spirit of the forefather to come and see what manner of creature 
his great-grandson might be. I insert the story for the benefit 
of the professors of oneiromancy. To me it seems a curious 
specimen of dream mystification. 

The historian's eldest son, Henry, was a captain in the Royal 
Navy. He was twice married. By his first wife, the daughter of 
Anthony Wyke, Attorney-General of Montserrat, he had a son 
and two daughters, of whom only one, Frances, was alive in my 
time. She married her cousin, Bertram Mitford, the head of the 
family and Squire of Mitford, which she occupied after his death 
as a dower house ; and so it happened that as a boy I passed many 
happy holidays in the old home. My grandfather's second wife 
was Mary Leslie-Anstruther, whom he married in 1803. In the 
same year he was appointed to the command of H.M.S. York, and 
before commissioning her he went down with his navigating officer 
— ^master was the title in those days — to survey her. They 
reported her unseaworthy. To that, the answer was, in effect, 
" Sail, or resign your commission." 

VOL. I 2 



1 8 Memories 



Of course they sailed, and on Christmas Eve, 1803, in a fog in 
the North Sea, the York went down with all hands. Her guns of 
distress were heard, but no help was forthcoming. I have been 
told that one spar with " York " upon it was washed ashore on the 
coast of Yorkshire. There were not then the means that there are 
now, thanks to Lloyd's and modern inventions, of obtaining in- 
formation as to wrecks, and that single spar was, I believe, the 
solitary evidence of the fate of the York. It was something very 
like an official murder. 

My father was born on the following twenty-first of June, a 
posthumous child, and lived with his grandfather and his two 
sisters. His mother soon married again, her second husband 
being Mr. Farrer, of Brayfield in Buckinghamshire, who had been 
an officer in the Blues. I am afraid that my father had not a 
very happy childhood, for the historian seems to have been rather 
crabbed in his old age. Besides, he was fully taken up with his 
studies and his work, and cared not to busy himself with the 
yearnings of a child. However, his two half-sisters, Frances and 
Louisa, were devoted to their brother, and the Uttle boy had a 
good friend in his grandfather's younger brother, John, who, in 
the meantime, had come to great distinction. Having been called 
to the Bar in 1777, he, three years later, published the famous 
book commonly called " Mitford on Pleadings," which speedily 
became a classic. Lord Eldon said that it was " a wonderful 
effort to collect what is to be deduced from authorities speaking 
so little what is clear" ; while Sir Thomas Plumer declared that it 
" reduced the whole subject to a system with such universally 
acknowledged learning, accuracy and discrimination, as to have 
been ever since received by the whole profession as an authoritative 
standard and guide." 

It was equally well accepted in America, and when I was in 
the United States in 1873 more than one well-known judge and 
lawyer came up to me wanting to know what relation I was to the 
" Pleadings." The success of the book brought prosperity and a 
seat in Parliament, by the favour of his cousin, the Duke of North- 
umberland. In 1793 he succeeded his lifelong friend Sir John 
Scott (Lord Eldon) as Solicitor-General ; the Attorneyship fol- 



The Cradle and the Race 19 

lowed as a matter of course, and in 1801 he became Speaker of 
the House of Commons. This latter office he did not hold long, 
for in 1802 Lord Clare, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland, died, 
and Sir John Mitford was appointed to succeed him, being raised 
to the peerage as Baron Redesdale of Redesdale in Northumber- 
land, a title which he took from the beautiful moorland property 
on the southern slope of the Cheviots which he had purchased 
with the idea of Unking himself as closely as might be with the 
border home of the ancient clan. 

It was a great wrench to resign the Speakership of the House 
of Commons, a post of high honour for which he was admirably 
fitted. He left an assembly over which he presided with a dignity 
and impartial tact which confirmed the esteem and regard in 
which he was held by its members, and justified their choice. At 
the call of duty he parted from his friends and severed many ties 
of affection, to take up a task which, however congenial it might 
be professionally, carried him into a country where he was a 
stranger with a surrounding of men who were to him a new ex- 
perience — men possessed of great talents and a charm peculiarly 
their own, but which did not appeal to his serious and rather 
matter-of-fact nature. On the bench his success was immediate 
and triumphant. 

Sheil, who was called to the Bar in 1811, and must have known 
many of the counsel who practised before Lord Redesdale, said 
of him that he introduced a reformation in Irish practice " by 
substituting great learning, unwearied diligence, and a spirit of 
scientific discussion, for the flippant apophthegms and irritable 
self-sufficiency of Lord Clare," and Story pronounced him to be 
" one of the ablest judges that ever sat in equity." 

The Iris)i Bar speedily recognized in him a scientific lawyer 
of the first quality, but the witty barristers, bubbling over with 
fun and rollicking spirits, were socially quite out of touch with 
him. He did not understand them, nor they him. O'Flanagan, 
in his " Lives of the Lords Chancellors of Ireland," teUs several 
amusing stories of the way in which the lawyers — none too re- 
spectfully, considering the dignity of his office — cracked jokes in 
his solemn presence. " I never saw Lord Redesdale more puzzled," 
VOL. I 2* 



20 Memories 



says Sir Jonah Barringtori^ " than at one of Plunket's bans mots. 
A cause was argued in (jhancery, wherein the plaintiff prayed 
that the defendant should be restrained from suing him on 
certain bills of exchange, as they were nothing but kites. ' Kites ! ' 
exclaimed Lord Redesdale, ' Kites, Mr. Plunket ? Kites could 
never amount to the value of these securities. I don't under- 
stand the statement at all, Mr. Plunket.' ' It is not to be expected 
that you should, my lord,' answered Plunket. ' In England and 
Ireland kites are quite different things. In England the wind 
raises the kite, but in Ireland the kite raises the wind.' ' I do not 
feel any better informed yet, Mr. Plunket,' said the matter-of- 
fact Chancellor. ' Well, my lord, I'll explain the thing without 
mentioning those birds of prey ' — and thereon he explained that 
in Ireland bills and notes which are not what is termed good 
security are commonly called kites, because they are used to raise 
money, which is termed ' raising the wind.' " 

Great as was Lord Redesdale as a judge, there were other duties 
of his office which militated against his being a success in Ireland. 
He was a devoted Church of England man and a bitter oppone.n 
of Catholic emancipation, and it was abhorrent to him that any 
office, even that of justice of the peace, should be held by a Roman 
Catholic. A letter addressed by him to the Earl of Fingal on 
appointing him to the Commission of the Peace provoked a corre- 
spondence which inflamed the Roman Catholics against him, and 
was fiercely blamed in the House of Commons by Fox and Canning. 

The final crisis was brought about by his treatment of Lord 
Cloncurry, who had twice been arrested for high treason, im- 
prisoned under the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act in 1799, and 
very harshly treated in the Tower of London. When the Habeas 
Corpus Act was restored, he regained his liberty after two years 
all but a few days, and went abroad for four years. On his return, 
a Mr. Burne, a King's Counsel, applied on Lord Cloncurry's behalf 
for his admission to the Commission of the Peace. Lord Redesdale 
resented this interference of a third person, and wrote Mr. Burne 
an angry and not very judicious answer, in which Lord Cloncurry's 
past history was raked up as a ground of refusal. This drew a 
furious letter from Lord Cloncurry himself in which he recited the 



The Cradle and the Race 21 



idle 



illegality and cruelty under which he had suffered, and made a 
violent attack upon the bigotry and prejudice of the Chancellor. 
The Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Hardwicke, at once ordered the 
Chancellor to insert Lord Cloncurry's name in the magistracy of 
the two Counties of Kildare and Dublin, and further offered to 
recommend that nobleman for promotion in the Peerage. The 
Viscount's coronet was refused, but the indignity placed upon 
the Chancellor was complete. Mr. Ponsonby was appointed to 
hold the Great Seal of Ireland, and pending his arrival, the Great 
Seal was put in Commission and Lord Redesdale was not even 
Edlowed to sit in the Court of Chancery — ^his own court. This, 
in his farewell speech to the Bar, he described as " a personal 
insult." 

His final letter to Lord Cloncurry was characteristic. " My 
Lord, I have desired instructions with respect to the insertion of 
your lordship's name in the Commission of the Peace for the 
Counties of Dublin and Kildare, and I have to request that your 
lordship will be pleased to apply to Mr. Ponsonby, whom His 
Majesty has appointed Chancellor of Lreland, and to whom the 
Great Seal will be delivered as soon as he shall arrive in the country. 
I have, etc. (sgd.) Redesdale." So the stout old Lord stuck to his 
colours, and without bending left Ireland in 1806, having held 
his office for four years. 

It is a siagular instance of the fickleness of fate that he should 
have been hotmded out of Ireland by the Roman Catholics of 
that covmtry, when their co-religionists in England had a few 
years before got up a national subscription to present him with 
a magnificent piece of gold plate, in gratitude for the determined 
action in the House of Commons, by which they were relieved 
from those penal laws to which they had been subject for more 
than two hundred years. That golden vase is a treasured heirloom 
at Batsford. 

There was nothing inconsistent in his conduct. His nature, 
essentially humane and merciftd, recoiled from anything which 
savoured of persecution : at the same time, in the poUtical govern- 
ment of his country, his Protestant principles and his attachment 
to the existing Constitution found no place for the professors of 



22 Memories 



a form of religion which, in his view, constituted a danger to the 
State. 

Meanwhile, in 1803, Lord Redesdale had contracted a marriage 
with Lady Frances Perceval, daughter of Lord Egmont, and sister 
of the Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, who was murdered by 
Bellingham in 1812. This happy union brought him three 
children, two of whom, his son who afterwards became first and 
only Earl of Redesdale, and Frances Elizabeth, survived him. 

Lord Redesdale's father, John Mitford of Exbury, was married, 
as I have said above, to a Miss Reveley, whose sister* was the 
wife of Thomas Edwards Freeman.f a wealthy and highly respected 
squire in the County of Gloucester. This Mr. Freeman had only 
one son,f who predeceased him, as did also the son's wife, Mary 
Curtis§ that was, leaving a daughter! |^ who married Mr. Heath- 
cote of Dursley in Hampshire. But this daughter had apparently 
inherited the bad health of her parents ; she had no child, and 
it became evident to Mr. Freeman that she was not likely to live : 
so in his will he made provision that failing her and any children 
that she might have, since he had apparently no relations of his 
own, his property should go to his wife's nephew. Lord Redesdale. 
Mrs. Heathcote did not survive her grandfather by many days, 
and almost immediately after his death in 1808, the property of 
Batsford passed to the ex-Chancellor of Ireland. 

One fine day the old lord took his little son, aged three, to see 
Mr. Freeman, who went and fetched a crazy old barrel organ, 
which he proceeded wheezUy to grind for the child's pleasure : 
when he had finished playing, the boy turned to his father and 
said with much dignity, " Give the old man a shilling ! " to the 

* Painted by Romney. 

t Painted as a young man by a French artist in the manner of Nattier. 
Also as an old man by ? 

J Painted by Prince Hoare of Bath — foreign corresponding secretary of 
the Royal Academy 

§ Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

II Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Heathcote by Owen. 

^ A pastel of her as a little girl with a pet goldfinch in a cage, by Russell 

generally regarded as Russell's best work. 



The Cradle and the Race 23 



great aimisement of the benefactor whose property the child was 
one day to inherit. 

Lord Redesdale never again held any ofhce, though Mr. Perceval 
wished him to return to the Chancellorship of Ireland. He knew 
how unpopular he was in that country, and wisely declined. He 
preferred his independence, and became a very useful and much 
consulted member of the House of Lords. Lady Redesdale died 
in 1817, and Lord Redesdale thirteen years later at the age of 
eighty-one. 

The second Lord Redesdale, who was educated at Eton and 
at New College, Oxford, speedily made his mark in the House 
of Lords by his diligence and capacity for business. The Duke 
of Wellington appointed him to be his Whip, and encouraged 
him to master all the details of the procedure and ^private business 
of the House with a view to his becoming Chairman of Committees, 
an office for which on the death of Lord Shaftesbury in February, 
185 1, he was chosen unanimously and which he held until his death 
in 1886. 

He was a keen sportsman, master and owner of the Heythrop 
hounds, which post he resigned when he found public business 
increasingly making inroads upon his time, but though he ceased 
to be master, the hounds remained his property until Mr. Albert 
Brassey, who had recently become master, made overtures to 
him to buy them. At first Lord Redesdale refused, but e/entually 
3delded, and gave the purchase money, £2,000, to the hunt as an 
endowment. He was a good shot, though he very rarely went 
out with a gun ; gave great attention to local affairs, never missing 
the sittings of the Board of Guardians. " Give old Pensioner 
(his hack) his head," said his studgroom, " and he'll go straight 
to Shipston.*" He continued to hunt so long as he was able and 
always hacked to covert, no matter what the distance might be. 

No man was more looked up to, and I don't believe that he 
had an enemy in the world, unless it might be among certain 
Parliamentary agents and promoters over whose proceedings he 
kept so strict a watch that he earned the name of the Lord Dicta- 
tor. It was mainly owing to his determined action that the 
* Shipston on Stour, where the guardians meet. 



24 Memories 



attempt to abolish the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords 
fell through. His literary controversy with Cardinal Manning 
on the Infallible Church and the Holy Communion is still remem- 
bered by ecclesiastics. He wrote several pamphlets, chiefly on 
doctrinal or genealogical subjects, in which his arguments were 
always ingenious and well expressed. In 1877 he was created 
an Earl by Queen Victoria on the recommendation of Lord 
Beaconsfield. 

Lord Redesdale never married. He and his sister kept house 
together at Batsford until her death in 1866. She was a woman 
of great ability, full of sympathy with all her brother's pursuits : 
her loss was a cruel blow to him, and during the twenty years which 
followed between her death and his, he never put off mourning. 
I was in the Far East when she died, and after all these years I 
could repeat by heart much of the touching letter which he wrote 
to me as being the one man to whom he could open out the grief 
that was in his soul. 

Batsford stands on a lovely spur of the Cotswold Hills, crowned 
with a glory of oaks and elms, beeches, ashes and chestnuts, a 
most fascinating spot, and here it was that, under the genial 
influence of the kind old lord, whose portrait by Lawrence is the 
very embodiment of goodwill towards men, the happiest da3ra 
of my father's childhood were spent. 

The three little cousins were devoted to one another. It was 
a beautiful friendship which strengthened as they grew up, and 
only ended with their lives. No two men could have been greater 
contrasts than my father and the late Lord Redesdale : perhaps 
their affection was all the stronger for that ; it had begun in child- 
hood and lasted into extreme old age ; they were always happy 
together, and when they were parted it was rarely that a day 
passed without their writing to one another. They went to the 
same schools, Iver first, then Eton, but not in the same house. At 
Oxford Lord Redesdale was at New College, my father at Magdalen 

My father did not stay long at college. He soon left the Uni 
versity to take up an attacheship at the Legation at Florence 
where Lord Burghersh* was minister, in whom he had the luck 
* Afterwards Earl of Westmorland, grandfather of the present earl. 



The Cradle and the Race 2q 



to find a most sympathetic chief, devoted to art, and especially 
to music, which with my father was a passion. The musical 
society of Florence at that time was brilliant, and the young 
attache was speedily welcomed into its intimacy. Of those days 
he had many stories, none, I think, more curious than this. 

One evening after the opera there was a supper party at the 
house of the Grisis, the parents of the famous prima donna. 
Giudetta, the elder daughter, had been singing and the unhappy 
tenor had been hissed off the stage with all the viciousness of 
which an Italian audience has the secret. My father was sitting 
next to Giulia Grisi, then a little girl of twelve — ^it was in 1827 — 
and he happened to say to her : " Ebben Giulia, I suppose some 
day you will be singing in grand opera ? " "I sing in opera," 
answered the beautiful child, " and run the risk of being hissed 
like that wretched man to-night ! " In two years' time, 1829, 
she made a precocious d^but at Bologna, and was not exactly 
hissed ! Seldom can there have been a more triumphant career 
than hers from the day when, as a mere chit of fourteen, she 
dazzled the world with her beauty and that lovely velvety voice.^? 

There was also at that time at Florence a very charming English 
coterie, which gathered round Lord and Lady Burghersh. Lord 
and Lady Dillon were there with their daughters, and I have often 
heard my wife's grandmother, old Lady Stanley of Alderley, who 
was one of them, say how agreeable the society of the Legation 
then was. Among others who occupied villas were my grand- 
parents. Lord and Lady Ashbumham, and it was there that my 
father and mother made acquaintance. They were married in 
February, 1828. 

There is much talk nowadays about links with the past. I 
take it that there are not many men who can say, as I can, that 
they had an uncle whose portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Rey- 
nolds who died in 1792. My grandfather's first wife was Lady 
Sophia Thyime, and there is a beautiful portrait of her at Ash- 
bumham by Sir Joshua, playing with her baby boy who lies in 
her lap : that boy, my uncle, was born in 1785, just one hundred 
and thirty years ago. The picture was privately engraved, and I 
have one of the only twenty-five copies that were struck off. 



z6 Memories 



His second wife, my grandmother, was Lady Charlotte Percy, 
sister of the Duke of Northumberland. She was a noted beauty, 
and there is a charming portrait of her by Hoppner, which has 
also been engraved. 

Among the treasures which are at Ashbumham is one of the 
two shirts w^om by King Charles the First at his execution. 
Everybody remembers how the King insisted on wearing two 
shirts lest on that cold January morning he should shiver, and men 
should think that it was from fear. The shirt was kept as a sajcred 
relic by our ancestor, John Ashbumham, who attended His 
Majesty on the scaffold : it was deeply stained with the blood of 
the Martyr, and people used to beg to be allowed to touch it as a 
remedy for the King's Evil. When my grandmother came back 
from Florence, she asked the housekeeper where the shirt was. 
" Quite safe, Mylady," was the answer, " but it was so stained 
that I have had it washed." The pity of it ! The second shirt 
is at Windsor. 

My grandfather's Garter was a great honour, if something of a 
disappointment. He had been a great friend of George the Fourth 
when he was Prince of Wales, and the Prince had promised him that 
when he should come to the throne, he would show him some mark 
of his favour. Lord Ashbumham attended his first levee. In 
those days, and indeed down to the end of King William the Fourth's 
reign, a levee was not what it is now ; it was a reception attended by 
very few people, and the King entered into conversation with 
everyone present in turn. The King greeted my grandfather most 
cordially, saying, " Ah ! George, I see you have come to remind me 
of my promise. Well, there is a Garter vacant, and you shall have 
it." (The Garter, like all other honours, was then still in the gift 
of the sovereign without any reference to ministers). My grand- 
father was deeply grateful, but he had a large family, and he had 
hoped that he might have obtained for his second son some one of 
those snug offices to which the only duty attached was the reception 
of the salary — sinecures now all vanished ! — and instead of that, 
at a moment when he was feeling rather poor, he had to find one 
thousand pounds for fees. 

Of my mother's brothers and sisters, those that I knew best were 







< 

X 

z 

a: 
D 
m 
I 



I 
H 



The Cradle and the Race 27 

my uncles Charles, who was in the Diplomatic Service, and Thomas, 
who was first in the Coldstream Guards and, after exchanging into 
the line, served in many Indian battles ; his last post was that of 
Commander-in-Chief at Hong Kong ; he was one of the wittiest 
of men, endowed with the power of giving a fantastic turn to the 
most commonplace topics, and his subtle humour was enhanced 
by being rendered in a musical speaking voice which was a special 
attraction in all his family. He was the darling of society, and 
might easily have been a spoilt darling, but that was impossible. 

His last years — he died in 1872 — were spent in the very able 
administration of various charities. The widow of my Uncle 
Charles, a brilliantly clever woman, married Sir Godfrey Webster, 
and became the chatelaine of Battle Abbey, which was afterwards 
bought by the Duchess of Cleveland, the authoress of the " Roll of 
Battle Abbey," and the mother of Lord Rosebery. My aunt. Lady 
Jane Swinburne, was the mother of the poet. She was a very culti- 
vated woman, to whose bringing up he owed the finest side of his 
character. 

I hardly knew my eldest uncle. Lord Ashbumham, the famous 
scholar and bibliophile, a man of recognized learning and taste. 
He was a great Pasha of whom men stood in terror. Old Mr. 
Quaritch, the bookseller, used to tell a good story of him. 

Like the rest of mankind, he quailed before the great man. The 
running account between the two used to run into very high figures. 
One day Mr. Quaritch called at Ashburnham House, and the Earl, 
glaring at him through his awe-compelling spectacles, asked what he 
wanted. " Well, my lord, I have Come to ask your lordship if you 
could let me have a little money on account." " Money, sir ! " 
answered my uncle, " what on earth can you want with money ? " 
" My lord, there is a great sale coming off at Paris next week, and 
as your lordship knows these Paris sales are a question of ready 
money." " Go away, sir ! Go away ! You want to go to Paris 
and speculate with MY MONEY ! " A just indignation beamed 
through the awful spectacles. The argument was irresistible. Mr. 
Quaritch was glad to make his escape, crossed over to Paris the next 
day and did not " speculate with my uncle's money." 

And now as a last word. let me brag a Uttle after the manner of 



20 



Memories 



Ajax and Ulysses as recorded in the quotation from Ovid, with which 
I started this record. It is true that, unHke those heroes, I cannot 
claim a descent from Jupiter, who, after all, was rather a disreput- 
able P^re Prodigue ; yet I am inclined, for my children's sake, and 
as an encouragement to them to incite their own children to prove 
themselves worthy " citizens of no mean city," to show them that 
they come of a goodly stock on both sides. I have in my possession 
a short family tree in the handwriting of the second Lord Redesdale, 
who, as I have said above, took great delight in genealogy. That 
tree shows that the Lords Ogle of Northumberland, who were our 
forbears, were descended both on the father's side and on the 
mother's from Charlemagne. My cousin traced it as follows : 

Charlemagne, a.d. 800. 

Pepin, King of Italy. 

Bernard, 818. 

Pepin, Lord of Peroune and St. Quentin. 

Herbert I., 902. 

Herbert II., Count de Vermandois, 943. 

Robert, Count de Troyes. 

Adelair = Geoffrey, Earl of Anjou, 957. 

Fulco II., the Black Earl of Anjou. 

Ermangarde = Geoffrey, Count de Gastinois. 



1 

Fulco IV., Earl of Anjou and King 


Judith = 


Iro Tailbois 


of Jerusalem 


niece of William the 


Baron of 


Geoffrey Plantagenet 


Conqueror and widow 


Kendal, 1 1 14 


Henry II., King of England 


of Waltheof, Earl of 




John 


Northumberland and 




Henry III. 


Lord of Hepple Barony 




Edward I. 


William Tailbois de Hepple, 


Edward II. 


1156. 


Edward III. 


Richard. 


John of Gaunt. 


Robert. 


Joan = Neville, Earl of Westmor- 


Robert 


land 


Robert, 1300 


Catherine = Mowbray, Duke of Nor- 


Joan Annabella ^ Sir Robert Ogle. 


folk 


heiress of Hepple 


Catherine = Sir Robert Grey 


Barony. 




Robert = Helen, daughter of Sir 




Robert Bertram. 




Robert = Joan de Heton 


Maud who married 


Sir Robert Ogle. / 





The Cradle and the Race 29 

Constance, the daughter of Sir Robert Ogle (the first Lord Ogle), married 
John de Mitford in 1437, and from them descended ; 
Bertram. 
Gawen, 1550. 
Cuthbert 
Robert. 
Cuthbert 
Robert, b. 161 2. 
John. 
William. 
John. 

WUliam (the historian, my great-grandfather). 
Captain Henry Mitford, R.N. 
Henry Reveley Mitford. 
Myself. 

My wife's father, David, seventh Earl of Airlie, was the lineal 
descendant of the Mormaers, hereditary royal deputies of Angus. 
Scotland was in ancient days divided into seven parts, each ruled 
by a Mormaer or Maormor, a title which as long ago as the eleventh 
century was converted into that of Earl. The story of the Ogilvys 
in more modern days, how they fought for their King and were 
attainted as Jacobites, is too well known to need retelling, nor need 
I speak of the burning by the Campbells of the Bonnie House of 
Airlie. Historians have recorded it ; poets and musicians have 
simg it. 

Lord Airlie married Henrietta Blanche, the daughter of Lord 
Stanley of Alderley, a cadet branch of a family so proud that it 
used to be said of them " The Stanleys do not marry : they contract 
alliances." Here again are two pedigrees tracing back to the 
remotest times of which there is any record. There is no need to 
search out the family tree of the Stanleys to prove their descent 
from Charlemagne. It is a matter of common knowledge. It is 
only in the case of inconspicuous families like our own that it is 
well to set down for those who come after us that which is so easily 
lost sight of. When in this year, 191 5, the shells are flying in the 
trenches, it should be a stimulant to a man to think that he has in 
his veins some of the blood of Charlemagne and of that glorious old 
Charles Martel, the hammer that at the battle of Poitiers saved 
Europe from being overrun by hordes of Saracens nearly twelve 
hundred years ago. 



CHAPTER II 

FRANKFORT — PARIS — TROUVILLE 

I WAS bom on the 24th of February, 1837, i^ South Audley 
Street, in a house long since pulled down, which stood at the 
southern comer of HiU Street. My father had left the Diplomatic 
Service on his marriage and for some years my parents lived at 
Exbury, the old family place overlooking the Solent through vistas 
in the trees, where, sitting in the drawing-room, you could see the 
great battleships with their bellying sails — men-of-war of the pattern 
of Nelson's days — the stately wooden walls of old England, the huge 
West Indiamen travelling to and from Southampton, " sailing 
between worlds and worlds with steady wing " — ^and the dainty 
little Cowes yachts pertly flitting among them like graceful white 
gulls. 

Ships were indeed a thing of beauty in those dawi, and Exbury 
was an earthly paradise ; but like diamond tiar^ and ropes of 
pearls, it was a costly luxury, unremunerative. My people had to 
retrench, the lovely home was let, and they went abroad to econo- 
mize. In this way it happened that I first awoke to life at Frankfort 
in 1840 — that at any rate is my earliest dim recollection. Two 
years later my father left Germany and took us to live in France. 

1842-1846. — I can hardly beUeve that it is only seventy-three 
years since we first went to live in France. When I think of the 
immense changes that have taken place in that beloved country 
since then, it seems more Uke seven hundred. The upheavals of 
wars and revolutions, two Dynasties gone, loppled over like houses 
of cards, sovereigns lauded up to the skies one year, hounded out 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 3 1 

of existence the next, followed by the howls and execration of 
infuriated mobs ; 1848 and the barricades — the coup d'etat of 
1851 — the Second Empire — the Crimean War — ^Mexico and the 
mm-der of Maximilian — ^the war of 1870 followed by the Commune 
— France shorn of two great provinces — ^Paris improved out of 
all its picturesqueness by the commonplace uniformity of Haus- 
mannism — only here a nook and there a corner left — all these 
seem to be transformation scenes which would need centuries to 
carry out, and yet they have all taken place in my lifetime. But 
not in France alone ; in Europe, Asia, America, Africa and 
Australia, the seventy-eight years of my life have witnessed more 
changes than any similar period in the world's history. 

For four years we passed the winter and spring — the season in 
those days — in Paris — never twice in the same apartments, though 
we always remained in the neighbourhood of the Madeleine — a 
convenient quarter for our elders and for ourselves, for it was no 
great distance from the gardens of the Tuileries, where we used to 
play with a number of little French friends — I have forgotten the 
names of all of them save only one called Jules — I suppose he had a 
surname, but if he did I never knew it — he was always " le petit 
Jules." He was of about my own age, very small, but of a quite 
demonic cleverness, and at marbles he was a hero. He broke us 
all, and many a time we went home with empty bags — ^not a bulge 
in ours — his bursting with wealth, and yet we loved him. 

I remember one tragic episode of a beautiful white alley with rosy 
pink veins, the pride of my soul. The little villain challenged me 
to play him, offering to stake a superb agate against it. In less 
time than it takes to write the tale the alley was his. My beautiful 
white alley ! I was but seven years old and I wept bitterly; I 
wonder whether " le petit Jules," if he is yet alive, remembers 
how he avenged Waterloo that day in his victory over the English 
boy. I don't suppose that he often plays marbles now, but if he is 
yet alive, I feel sure that his many talents have led him to great 
successes in all his endeavours, whatever they may have been. 

Many merry days we spent among the trees and statues of those 
gardens, and often on a sunny morning we could see the old King, 
Louis Philippe, pacing the terrace fronting the river. He used 



32 Memories 



generally to wear a long grey great-coat with a huge steeple hat 
covering the famous Poire* — an astute, none- too-reliable old man. 
He never had but one companion on his walks — probably General 
Baudrandi his most familiar friend — perhaps Guizot or some minister 
— talking earnestly, stopping every now and then to enforce a point 
with appropriate gesticulations. Hatching plots, Spanish marriage 
for Montpensier, or some other villainy ? Probably. But that old 
grey coat covered a King, and we looked at it with awe. 

As might be expected in the case of a King whose own people 
admitted that the one thing he lacked was dignity, his Court seems 
to have been the shoddiest affair that could be imagined ; we used 
to hear many stories of its vulgarities. Old Lady Sandwich, grand- 
mother of the present earl, spent much Irish wit upon it. Her 
descriptions of the bourgeois courtiers were inimitable. She hap- 
pened to go to an audience just about the time that there was so 
much fuss about poor Queen Pomare — the ex-Queen of Tahiti. 
The equerry who was to announce her asked the English lady's 
name. 

" La Comtesse de Sandwich." 

" Pardon, Madame, je n'ai pas bien compris." 

" La Comtesse de Sandwich." 

" Mille pardons, Madame — mais ces noms anglais sont si diffi- 
ciles." 

The man was evidently determined to be insolent, but Lady 
Sandwich turned the tables on him by saying with a laugh : 

" Mon Dieu ! Monsieur, dites done la Reine Pomare ! " 

That smothered him — everybody laughed, and she stalked into 
the presence majestic and triumphant. 

Another time at a court ball, she had struggled through the shabby 
crowd to the buffet and got herself an ice, when a big hand snatched 
it from her and from the mouth that belonged to the hand there 
issued, " Enfoncee la petite mere ! " She turned round, furious — 
it was her bootmaker in the garb of the Garde Nationale. He had 
only seen her back, so had not recognized her. When he did 
see ! 

* The caricaturists used to make famous fun of Louis Philippe's head, with 
its hair brushed up in a sort of cone that made the stem of the pear. 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 33 

Of the Royal Family in the Tuileries there were two members 
at whom nobody sneered, of whom nobody spoke an evil word — 
Queen Am61ie and the Due d'Aumale. Her goodness and dignity 
won universal respect and admiration. Of the Due d'Aumale I 
shall have a word to say elsewhere. As for the rest, there was no 
great halo of majesty about them. The wily old fox himself was 
distrusted where he was not hated. The Legitimists spoke of him 
as the very incarnation of the Revolution, like his father figalit^, 
a traitor to his King and to his caste. How dared he call 
himself " King of the French " when his cousin was the lawful 
"King of France? " The sons, Nemours, Joinville, Montpensier, 
I used to hear spoken of with scant respect — no great harm about 
them; but poor creatures, commanding neither regard nor 
affection ; nobody seemed to associate with them or to wish their 
friendship. When I came to know them later in life in this 
country I understood the talk to which I had listened as a child. 

The death of the Due d' Orleans excited sympathy from its tragic 
character, besides which he like the Due d'Aumale, but in a lesser 
degree, had earned some credit in the Algerian campaign. I can 
just remember the horror with which the news of the fatal accident 
when he was thrown from his carriage, between Paris and Neuilly, 
was received. It was in 1842, just seventy-three years ago ' 

My father's many accomplishments — music, painting, languages — 
made him welcome beyond the usual run of foreigners in French 
society. He was, moreover, wonderfully well-read in the old 
memoirs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and quite an 
authority on historic French portraits. So much so that when 
I once said to him that I felt sure that if he were to find himself 
transported back to one of the famous salons of those times he would 
know almost all the people by sight, his answer was, " Upon my word, 
I believe I should." 

The society of the Faubourg n the early forties must have been 
very interesting ; there were so many people still living who could 
talk as eye-witnesses of the horrors of the great Revolution : at 
the time of our sojourning in France there was less interval 
separating us from the Terreur than there is between to-day and 
the Crimean War. 

VOL. I -3 



34 Memories 



A man of seventy years in 1842 was twenty years of age when 
the King was murdered ; yet it seems difficult to believe now 
that, as a child, I often listened, my hair almost on end, to men 
and women telling how they had seen their nearest and dearest 
led off in the tumbrils to the shambles of Monsieur de Paris, and 
recounting the miracles by which they themselves had escaped. 
There were many such. Indeed, the Duchesse d'Angouleme 
herself — ^the woman of so many tears that to her dying day in 1851 
her poor eyes suffered from the chronic weeping known as gutta 
lachrymans — ^who as a child had, with her unhappy mother, gone 
through the miseries of the Conciergerie, and seen the King and 
Queen, both her parents led away to the scaffold, was living, though 
not in France, and my father knew her well — in all respects a 
wonderful woman, of whom Napoleon said that she was " the only 
man in the family." 

It is now the fashion to laugh at the story that Robespierre, 
minded to meirry her, sought an interview with her in prison. 
She, warned beforehand, maintained a dead silence, refusing to 
utter a word, and he left the room, banging the door and exclaiming, 
" Begueule comme toute sa famille." My father, who had ex- 
ceptional relations with the old French Legitimists, firmly believed 
that this really happened, and he had good reason for his faith. 
Of people whom I actually knew and who had survived the 
Revolution, several were in various ways notable. 

At Trouville we became very intimate with the family of the 
Marquis de Chaumont Quitry. The two sons, Felix and Odon, 
were splendid young men who, among others, made the place 
gay, and on a fine evening they would carry out their trompes de 
chasse and make the rocks ring with the " Hallali," the " Rendez- 
vous des Chasseurs," and other fanfares, to the great joy of us 
children. 

The old Marquis had been a great figure among the emigres. 
When still little more than a boy he had contrived to make his 
escape from the Terreur with his young wife, and landed in England 
with a few pounds in his pocket. Many friends were eager to help 
him, but he was as proud as his ancestor, Robert de Chaumont, 
the knight of the First Crusade, and he would accept nothing. 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 35 

With the little money that he had he bought cloth, thread, scissors, 
needles, and whalebone, and set up with the Marquise as a stay- 
maker somewhere in Soho — a hero, if ever there was one — and it 
became the fashion for fine ladies to have their stays made by the 
noble descendant of Crusaders whose pedigree could be traced 
back to Charlemagne. 

There was another wizened little old gentleman, whose name 
I have forgotten, who used to tell us anecdotes of the straits to 
which he was put during his life in London ; but after all, it might 
have been worse, and he was able to feed himself for very little 
money. In the cheap slum in which he lived there used to appear 
every morning a man with little pieces of meat on skewers; for 
two or three pence you could obtain " des petites portions," quite 
enough for a meal, " et ma foi ! 5a n'etait pas trop mauvais ; 9a 
s'appelle Kami." He was dealing with the cat's-meat man ! 

I used often to be taken to see the venerable Marquise du Mesnil, 
who had been lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. The old 
lady lived in a wonderful apartment full of glorious old furniture. 
Gobelins tapestry, Sevres china, vemis Martin, fans and pictures, 
memorials of the old Court which would fetch a king's ransom 
to-day. I sometimes wondered whether the windows of those 
rooms had ever been opened since the house was built, for the air 
was thick with a peculiar musty, stuffy, mousey smell, over which 
neither musk nor verveine could prevail. Here she sat bolt upright 
with a priceless snuffbox in her wizened hand, telling tales which 
made me gasp with terror, until I could almost see Judith carrsnng 
the bleeding head out of the tapestry in the boudoir to the music 
of the carmagnole in the street below. 

At the Mus6e Camavalet, or looking at the Princess de Lam- 
balle's little pink shpper at the Cluny, I am reminded of that house 
of fear from which I used to escape trembling, but to which, such 
was its weird fascination, I always used to beg to be taken every 
time my people went to visit there. The old lady was always very 
kind to the little boy who never quite knew whether he feared or 
loved her, but who had a lurking suspicion that she must be some 
relation of that fairy who was not asked to the christening. 
A great pleasure on our homeward walk from the Rive Gauch 

VOL. I 3* 



36 Memories 



was to be allowed, after recrossing the river, to go through the 
Place du Carrousel, between the Louvre and the Tuileries, not 
then the magnificent, dull and highly respectable space that it 
now is, but a regular fair, with all sorts of cheap booths, where 
dogs and cats and monkeys, many strange beasts, birds from 
over-sea islands, parrots and fowls with gaudy plumage, snakes, 
tortoises, cheap and entrancing sham jewellery and rubbish were 
for sale. It was very picturesque, very smelly and very dirty, 
the screams of the macaws, the barking of the dogs, and the cries 
of the vendors made the day noisome and hideous, but we youngsters 
loved it with all its filth, and the present spick-and-spanness is no 
compensation for the magnets of attraction that have been 
swept away. 

I wonder where these sweepings agglomerate into life again 
There must be some place where the humble piou-piou buys a 
cheap ring for his lady-love, some place where the marchand de 
coco tinkles his bell among the crowd, where the distressful person 
who earns his living by picking up cigar-ends, now partially ruined 
by the cigarette craze and the end of snuff-taking, can ply his 
trade, and the cries of the old-clothes man and the dealer in stale 
fruit may be heard, some place from which modem ideas will drive 
them once more into the wilderness ; for after all, it must be ad- 
mitted that the picturesque charms of Petticoat Lane are hardly in 
harmony with the sedateness of an improving neighbourhood, let 
alone a great architectural quadrangle separating two palaces, one, 
alas ! now gone for ever. 

There were other walks — ^the Jardins des Plantes, the Bois de 
Boulogne, and so many pleasant expeditions. But what I grew to 
love most, as the years rolled on, were the quaint old nooks and 
comers that we used to come upon in remote and imexpected 
places, remnants of the old Paris of the Trois Mousquetaires — de- 
lightful people ! — curiously gabled streets where the oil lanterns 
still swung from wires fastened to the houses on either side, places 
just fit for rufflers like d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, 
swaggering hand on hilt ; dark, mysterious, labyrinthine quarters, 
very primitive and no doubt very unhygienic ; but then you cannot 
have everything. 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 37 

One not very judicious outing I remember when I was seven 
years old, and a sentimental tutor from Demler's school, to which 
we were sent, took several of his pupils, myself among them, to the 
Morgue to see the corpse of a girl who had been murdered — stabbed 
to death — by her sweetheart. It was a horrid place, that old 
Morgue, where the dead bodies were laid out naked on marble slabs 
with a tiny trickle of water playing upon them, like salmon jin 
a fishmonger's shop, and their poor rags of clothing hung damp, 
empty and melancholy from the ceiling. The sight almost made 
me sick and fed me with nightmares for weeks. 

One of my father's best friends in Paris was the old Duchesse 
de Rauzan. She had recently built herself a house at Trouville 
in the sands near the mouth of the river. Trouville was then a 
tiny fishing village. The only other house besides that of the 
Duchesse was one built close to hers by Doctor, afterwards Sir 
Joseph, OUiffe, the physician to the English Embassy. The 
Duchesse was anxious to get a few of her friends to camp for the 
summer in the fishermen's cottages and make up a pleasemt coterie. 
Amongst others, she persuaded my father to join the party. One 
day my father had taken me with him to call on the Duchesse, 
to inquire further before deciding, and as we were sitting there, 
a footman announced " Monsieur le Docteur Billard." 

" What a piece of luck ! " said the Duchesse. " Monsieur 
Billard is the Trouville doctor, so you will be able to ask him all 
about it." 

Questioned, Billard answered, " Monsieur, Trouville est un trou ! " 
and went into fits of laughter at the fullness of his own wit. 

The answer, however, did not suit the Duchesse's book, so the 
poor doctor was promptly snubbed and told not to talk nonsense. 
I was destined to see a good deal of that learned man of pills and 
noxious draughts in the next four years, and he became one of my 
most intimate enemies. He was a primitive, and so far as I was 
concerned he had but one remedy, a horrible decoction of gum 
arable and sugar, called sirop de gomme, which presumably 
was intended to glue together any little portions of the human 
organization which might have got out of joint, and was his panacea 
for all ailments except the toothache ; for that he had a dreadful 



38 Memories 



instrument of torture called a German key — upon me he expen- 
mented with both. 

He was a humorist : " N'ayez pas peiir, mon petit ami ; nous 
allons gu6rir 9a avec un peu de baume d'acier." In went the 
" baume d'acier " into my mouth, and with a great wrench out came 
the tooth. Howling with pain, rage and indignation at having 
been tricked, I wreaked an inadequate revenge upon M. Billard's 
shins. But this is forestalling events. In spite of the doctor's 
wit, the Duchesse easily talked over my father, and the result was 
five most happy summers in the brightest of surroundings. 

And so it came to pass that one fine day in 1842 we all embarked 
on the railway, then a very new institution, which went no further 
than Rouen, where we slept, and on the following morning two 
huge yellow diligences, which my father had chartered to carry 
us and our fortunes to the Norman coast, were standing outside the 
old-fashioned inn. My father, my grandmother, two aunts, my 
two brothers and myself, besides a German tutor and a white 
poodle, made up the crew. 

Greatly hindered was the packing of the qrazy old coaches by 
that nondescript, motley crowd that used to fill an inn-yard on 
those occasions, a crowd quite unknown to the traveller of to-day, 
long since as extinct as the great auk, all shouting, swearing and 
spitting, all giving different opinions, with much gesticulation, 
as to what trunk should be placed where, in unison only when the 
question of pourboires turned up, in unison then — not iti harmony. 

Off at last I The great lumbering diligences rattling over the 
cobble stones of the glorious old cathedral city, stopping now and 
then for pack-thread repairs to the harness, the coachman cracking 
a long whip, the stick made of twisted willow and garnished with 
red cotton tassels to match those on his horn, which he from time 
to time tootled distractingly, shouting at his horses, the near leader, 
a favourite, being addressed lovmgly as " Coco," the off leader 
held up to contempt as a " sacred canary-bird," and the wheelers 
being left to jog on in peace as the spirit moved them, nibbling 
with fond kisses at one another's ears, and all four merrily jingling 
their bells. 

It was a weary journey, and we were all very tired, hungry, 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 39 

cross and scratchy (for the straw in the bottom of the diligence 
harboured a colony of greedy fleas), when we rolled along the quay 
in state and finally drew up at the chemist's shop, kept by one 
Madame Gamard, the upper floors of which we were to occupy. 

It was a mean old house, at the entrance to a curly street, the 
back windows of which overlooked a butcher's shambles, where 
every morning at daybreak bovine sacrifices took place, a gruesome 
sight, which the German tutor used to wake us up to witness. 
He would not have missed a death-blow or a groan for anything. 
He revelled in blood like Ivan the Terrible. If only, as in the 
case of the cruel Tsar, it had been human blood, one felt that his 
treat would have been complete. At the back of the house 
slaughter; in the front drugs and potions in wonderfully inscribed 
gallipots, interspersed with fly-blown caramels and sugared Eilmonds 
almost as nauseous as the salts and senna. 

Only a maid and a cook, with my nurse and my father's 
manservant, came with us from Paris, so as we were a largish 
party, my grandmother had to engage two additional women 
selected from the local talent. Her star was in the ascendant 
when for one of them her choice fell upon Marie Letac — and here 
I am at once met by a difficulty. How to spell the name ? As 
no member of the Letac family had ever been taught to read or 
write, such superfluous accomplishments not being the fashion at 
Trouville, the spelling was a matter of debate. Should the name 
end with a c, or que, or cque, or ques, or cques ? I take the line of 
least resistance and adopt the final c. 

Marie was a dear, rosy-faced, good-humoured, very plump person 
of some forty years — snuff her one dissipation, her one extrava- 
gance. How she managed to stow away so much was a mystery ; 
a large, flat nose and the stains on her apron would account for 
some of it, but surely not for all. Her union with a thin, red-haired, 
weasel-faced carpenter had been blessed by a numerous family, 
obviously hardy annuals. She was a great character, but when 
she came back the following year from Paris, whither she had 
insisted on accompanying us, she became a notable authority 
touching the glories of the capital, upon which she would descant 
to Weasel-face and a select circle of commeres, listening open" 



40 Memories 



mouthed, with their hands folded under their aprons upon their 
ample stomachs. What struck her most in Paris was the beauty 
of the potatoes. " Parlez-moi des pommes de terre de Paris ! 
C'est si-z-aimable a cuir." Of the servants' quarters in a Paris 
house she did not approve so highly, and no wonder, for they were 
wretched dens under the roof, often not weathertight. She some- 
times acted as my nurse, and I can hear her now, after bidding me 
good night, saying, " Oil's' qu'il est le parapluie ? — allons nous 
coucher ! " 

One fine day there came to Trouville a travelling dentist and 
quick, a sort of Dr. Dulcamara, who established his cart on the quai 
near the fish market. He announced himself as " La Gloire de k 
Science," the favourite medicine-man and confidant of the Emperor 
of Russia and the other Crowned Heads of Europe. He was 
dressed in an old ragged blue military coatee with scarlet worsted 
epaulettes, dirty white breeches and top-boots. On his head 
rested the dignity of a huge cocked hat with a tall tricolor plume. 
He carried a gigantic sword, and his warlike appearance was en- 
hanced by a pair of phenomenal black moustachios. In attendance 
upon him were a performer on the key-bugle and a pitre, or jack- 
pudding, whose business it was at the psychological moment to 
bang a big drum and crash a pair of cjmibals in order to drown the 
howls of the victims of dentistry. 

Marie Letac, who had been suffering from toothache, was wild to 
go and consult the " Glory of Science." My aunt promised to 
pay the fee, so off she went and mounted the learned doctor's 
cart. A little while later we went out and met Marie Letac with a 
duster before her mouth, bleeding profusely, crying with pain, yet 
half laughing at her own plight — one might almost say weeping 
merrily. 

" Well," said my aunt, " so you have had it out ? " 

" Seven of them," blurted out Marie. 

" Seven ! Impossible ! " 

" Oh ! du moment que c'est mademoiselle qui regale ! " and with 
that she went off bleeding but content. 

The man of pUls, potions, and forceps did a roaring trade that 
day ; the drum and cymbals were never idle, and there was a great 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 41 

crowd of sailors and fishwives, standing unwearied for many hours, 
happy in the enjoyment of an exhibition which was free, and in the 
contemplation of the pain of their friends and neighbours. 

I think, though it is anticipating by a good many years, that I 
must finish the story of our relations with Marie Letac. She re- 
mained with us all the time we were in France, and was heart- 
broken when we left — that was in 1846. We spent the summer 
holidays of that year at Tunbridge Wells, and one day, as we were all 
sitting at luncheon, there came a ring at the bell, and we were told 
that there was a French beggar-woman who wanted to see my 
aunt. She ran out of the room and presently came back with Marie, 
travel-stained, tired, footsore, and almost worn out, but crying for 
very happiness. She said that she could bear the separation no 
longer, so she had gone to Havre, taken boat for Southampton, and 
walked all the way to Tunbridge Wells. How she managed to find 
the road, not knowing a word of English and almost penniless, was 
a puzzle. She had an addressed envelope and that was all, but here 
and there she met with a kind person who knew a little French and 
helped her, and so at last the faithful creature reached us. She did 
not stay very long, for she had her husband and the hardy annuals 
to look after, and she was sent back to Normandy, this time 
travelling decently and in comfort. 

The following summer we went back to Trouville, and of course 
she came to be with us. After that we never saw her again. But 
every Yuletide there came a letter to my aunt, written by the 
village scribe in pompous language, beginning, " Je croirais manquer 
a mon devoir si je ne m'empressais pas," etc., etc., with many good 
wisljes and felicitations. At last, after many years, there was a 
sad Christmas which brought no letter. Poor Marie " avait manqu^ 
k son devoir.' She was dead. 

Of Trouville Alexandre Dumas pere was the Columbus, la Mdre 
Oseraie the George Washington. What the one discovered, the 
other made. The " Bras d'Or," the solitary little inn over which 
Madame Oseraie shed the very sunshine of kindness, became famous 
as a summer resort for the long-haired denizens of the Quartier 
Latin of Paris. It was quite humble and very cheap, but it was 



42 Memories 



specklessly clean, and the cooking was undeniable, for the hostess 
was a bom cordon bleu. The elder Dumas was no mean judge, and 
when he gave her his blessing, her omelettes were said to be a dream, 
her soupe aux choux a revelation. The great man had spoken, and 
the " Bras d'Or " became a sort of suffragan headquarters for some 
of the painters of the Barbizon school, and a small gang of imitativie 
rapins who followed in their wake. It suited their meagre purses ; 
for three or four francs a day they were lodged and fed upon the fat 
of the land, with bread and cider d discretion. 

As for Madame Oseraie herself, round, fat, and fubsy, with a most 
genial smile and welcome, she looked as if she had been made to 
suckle the world on the milk of human kindness. The good inn was 
never empty, and the guests went back to Paris all the better for 
the rest, with a dip in the sea, fresh, strong air and good food, carrying 
a satchel full of sketches to work upon in their cock-loft ateliers till 
the time should come round for another happy summer holiday. 
But after 1842 no more " Bras d'Or" for the poor rapins! The 
grandees from Paris had taken possession of Trouville ; Madame 
Oseraie not unreasonably raised her prices, and the poor, long- 
haired, imperfectly-washed, but very merry ne'er-do-weels must 
move on to some other and, let us hope, equally happy hunting 
ground. 

When the great people came they had perforce to accept the 
simple life. The fisher folk furbished up their cottages acQording 
to their humble ideas of aesthetic extravagance, and their lodgers, 
who had left behind them rooms rich with Gobelins and Beauvais 
tapestry, furnished with masterpieces by Riesener, Caffieri and 
Gouthieres, had to content themselves with hideous cheap wall- 
papers the colour of which came off in dust upon their coats and 
gowns, and with such poor sticks and stocks as the modest homes 
could afford. What became of the owners, in what troglodytes' 
dwellings they lay hidden, counting over their little harvest, is more 
than any man can say. 

One or two artists, a little less hairy and a little better off than the 
old patrons of the inn, came with the mighty. There were the two 
brothers Mozin, Charles and Theodore, the one a clever painter, 
the other a musician, and Vogel, beloved of the none-too-critical 



Frankfort — Trouville — Paris 43 

Paris ladies for his sugary ballads all about love and cottages and 
despair — songs as sweet and smooth as the almond-paste in a wedding- 
cake. They brought a sort of mild aesthetic leaven into the general 
hotch-potch ; the dandies copied their scarlet flannel blouses and 
their berets ; the smart ladies accepted their sketches and the 
dedications of their songs, feeling that in so doing they were laying 
a claim to a reputation for culture. 

A vision of the plage at Trouville was Madame de Contades, 
who came down from Paris one year to breathe a little health after 
some serious illness. She used to be carried on to the sands on a 
canvas litter by two sturdy fishermen in their blue jerseys and 
knitted caps, and when she was comfortably established with her 
book, her fan, her parasol, and her bottle of smelling-salts or some 
cunning essence, she would be surrounded by a bevy of children, 
pages and tiny maids of honour, all eager to render her homage and 
do her some small service — a lilliputian court quite as much in love 
with her as the dandy moths that singed their wings in her flame. 

How beauty appeals to children ! That sweet, pale face, framed 
in soft brown curls like the Cenci of Guido Reni, is a fascination 
to me to-day as it was seventy years ago and more. She should 
have remained a tender invalid; but the rough Norman breezes 
brought back the roses to her cheeks and strength to her shapely 
limbs, and the next I heard of our beautiful queen was swimming 
a race against another lady in the Seine at Paris. To her lilliputian 
court this seemed an outrage of lese-poesie. Indeed, it was deemed 
a little unusual at that rather stiff period. 

The Lubersacs, Barbantanes, Blacas, followed the lead of the 
Duchesse de Rauzan, as should beseem daughters and sons-in-law. 
Notable also was the Duchesse de Gramont Caderousse, with her 
two boys, daily playfellows of ours, the second of whom became 
the famous viveur, dandy, duellist, and eccentric of the Second 
Empire — I shall, perhaps, speak of him later. The elder brother 
died as a boy. 

Sunday was a great day, when the little street and the plage 
were quite alive with holiday folk who flocked in from the neigh- 
bouring farms and villages to see the fine people from Paris. It 
was a very picturesque crowd. Of course the sailor-men were all 



44 Memories 



dressed in their best blue cloth, with their red knitted woollen caps 
throwing a tassel jauntily on one side. The well-to-do farmers' 
wives and daughters were very smart. Striped petticoats coming 
down a little above the ankle, showing a neat little pair of wooden 
sabots, or even leather shoes; black-silk aprons; white fichus 
folded over their breasts ; upon their heads the old, high twelfth- 
century caps, trimmed with lace, which our ladies said was beautiful, 
handed down from mother to daughter for generations. 

A few years ago I was at Trouville once more upon a Sunday. 
Alas ! the old costumes were no longer there. The present genera- 
tion of farmers' wives were all garbed and hatted in imitation of 
Paris fashions. It was too sad ! They were a fine, strapping, 
healthy race of women, with beautiful skins and cheeks as rosy as 
the apples of their own orchards. Some of the girls were very hand- 
some, sweet and modest-looking ; rather shy of the foreigners. It 
may be said that I was not of an age to judge, but I was a long- 
eared little pitcher, and I heard what my elders said. The men 
were not so picturesquely attired, but there was a touch of local 
character about their get-up also. 

A great ally of ours was a certain old Monsieur Pommier (I don't 
suppose he was more than forty, but to us he seemed a Methuselah), 
who always came to see us dressed in his Sunday best. A brown 
coat as stiff as iron, and as tmcomfortable as a strait waistcoat, with 
a ridiculous little pair of tails about six inches long sticking out 
behind almost at right angles to his waist ; a phenomenally high 
collar reaching to his ears, a taU stock above a flowered white 
waistcoat ; on his reddish, close-cropped head a black beaver hat, 
brushed the wrong way ; in his hand a stick with the thick end 
downwards, held by a leathern thong at the small end ; tiny side- 
whiskers, and a face and nose shining from recent soapsuds. He 
was the type of the prosperous Normandy farmers and cider-makers 
of his day. If they were proverbially a close-fisted race, they knew 
how to be hospitable, and there was an old-world courtesy which 
pierced through their roughness and was most attractive. To us 
they were very kindly, and the memory of them is still pleasant. 

It was a motley crowd that came to mix with the grand ladies, 
the dandies, the nounous, the little bare-legged children making 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 45 



sand-castles, watching an itinerant Polichinelle or scrambling 
about the mussel-clad Roches Noires under the careful eyes of 
governesses and tutors. 

But gay and bright and happy as the Sunday was out of doors , 
inside our house it was dreary and penitential. My grandmother, 
a Leslie-Anstruther by birth, had inherited all the bigotry of the 
old Covenanters, and under her rule, kind and loving as it was on 
week-days, the Sabbath was day on which no expression of joy 
was permitted. Many hour were consumed by her in various 
forms of deadly dull worship. Even we, mere children, had to sit 
through a service which was made as forbidding as it could be. 
She began with the morning service read from beginning to end, 
including the priestly absolution, which she delivered with peculiar 
unction ; then came the Litany, which the professional cleric omits 
when the morning prayer has been given in its entirety ; then the 
Communion service. By that time most performers would have 
been exhausted — ^not so my grandmother ; she proceeded to 
deliver one of Blair's sermons, and woe be to us if we yawned 
or fidgeted, or were guilty of inattention ! 

I remember one special Sunday. I must have been about six years 
old when I was promoted to a pair of trousers ; they were made by 
the village tailor out of a hideous black-and-white check horse- 
cloth, very coarse and prickly, like the hair-shirt of a medieval 
saint. Every time I moved the sharp points entered into my tender 
flesh; to kneel was a penance, to get up again and sit down a 
torture. My fidgets and groans could not be restrained ; they were 
a criminal interruption, and I was punished accordingly, but at any 
rate, in order that the punishment should be effective, the cruel 
trousers had to be taken down, and that was a consolation, though 
only temporary, and not unmixed with a counter-irritation of pain, 
In these circumstances religion was what the great Lord Halifax 
called " a vertu stuck with bristles, too rough for this Age." 

In 1845 we stayed on at Trouville long after all the other 
summer visitors had fled, like the swallows. No one left but the 
fisherfolk and ourselves. 

In the late autumn the sea became leaden, ugly, cruel-looking. 



46 Memories 



One stormy day when I fought my way as usual against the wind 
down to the deserted sands, close to where the bathing-machines 
were drawn up in idleness, I came upon a group of fishermen carrying 
something blue and limp, a belated bather whom they had risked 
their own lives to rescue from the waves growling savagely upon the 
beach, lashing themselves, as it seemed to me, into a fury at being 
robbed of their prey. It was difficult to believe that it was the same 
sea that a few short weeks before had rippled so gently, kissing the 
pretty feet of the paddling children ! On such days as those I felt 
very much alone and longed to get back to the Gardens of the 
Tuileries and the merry games with our little camarades 

But there were bright days in the waning year, when we made 
expeditions to neighbouring farm-houses, or tramped along the 
frosty riverside road to the little town of Touques, with its black- 
and-white timbered houses and the picturesque ruins of the old 
Norman castle. 

What a joy it was when I was about eight years old to let my 
imagination nm riot, peopling the old keep with visions of knights 
and dames and beautiful Jewesses ! I was in the middle of reading 
" Ivanhoe " and here was indeed a setting for the book. I could 
fancy myself at Torquilstone and conjure up living pictures of the 
Black Knight, Front de Bceuf, the Templar, Athelstane, and Cedric 
the Saxon. There was a beautiful peasant girl in her high Norman 
cap, wandering down below among the now leafless apple orchards ; 
could she be the Lady Rowena ? And that sturdy, rather ruffianly 
vagabond standing in the ancient archway. Surely no other than 
Gurth the swineherd ! Phantoms conjured up by the Wizard of the 
North. 

In August, 1847, we were once more at Trouville, and it was 
for the last time. In former years we had been wont to 
see more of that romantic Norman coast than most people did ; 
for we were not fashionable : we used to arrive in early spring, 
long before the orchards were brilliant with the bravery of the 
apple blossoms, and more than once we stayed on long after the 
last glorious red fruits had been gathered for the cider-vats, when 
the first frosts had coloured the falling leaves, and the hedges 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 47 

3^elded no more blackberries with which to smear our small faces. 
This year our stay was bounded by the Eton holidays. 

It was a fateful month — fateful for France — for it was the month 
in which the Praslin tragedy took place, a tragedy which might 
perhaps by now have been mercifully forgotten had it not played 
so important a part in the political history of that time. 

One beautiful summer day, when all the little world of Trouville 
was gathered together upon the velvety sands, the terrible news 
arrived. Two young Irish ladies came running up to my aunts 
weeping bitterly — almost in hysterics. They were great friends 
of the Praslin family and had just heard that the poor Duchess 
had been murdered and the Duke arrested. I remember the 
thrill of horror with which the news was received on the plage, 
and that thrill throbbed through all France. The Due de Praslin 
had driven the first nail in the coffin of the Orleans monarchy. 

For some five or six years the Duke and Duchess, who had a 
large family, had had in their service as governess a certain Made- 
moiselle de Luzy. Of this lady the Duchess, with or without 
reason, but most probably with very good reason, at any rate 
so far as the transfer of her husband's affections was concerned, 
had become furiously jealous : so much so that her father. Marshal 
Sebastiani, insisted upon Mademoiselle de Luzy's dismissal. This, 
however, did not put an end to the intimacy, of whatever nature 
it may have been, between her and the Duke, for it was shown 
that on the arrival of the family in Paris from the country, he 
drove at once to her house. That night the murder was com- 
mitted. When the servants entered the bedroom, they had to 
face a sight so appalling that M. Delessert, the Prefect of Police, 
whose business made him familiar with the horrors of crime, told 
Mr. Henry Greville that in all his experience he had not come 
across so ghastly a spectacle. There were signs of a desperate 
struggle, for the unhappy Duchess, a short but stout woman, 
had evidently fought fiercely for her life. 

Suffice it to say here that the evidence against the Duke was 
damning. A pistol known to belong to him had been used as 
a bludgeon, and was clotted with blood and hair — some of the 
hair was his own, pulled out in the cruel fight ! He had opened 



4^ Memories 



the window in order to excite the beUef that the crime was the 
work of burglars ; but it was pointed out to him that nothing 
had been stolen, and that a figure resembling his had been seen 
from the outside opening the casement — upon which he observed 
that the matter assumed a grave aspect. He was arrested and 
carried to prison, but managed to take a dose of poison which 
proved insufficient; a second dose was smuggled, as it was 
averred, into his cell, and of this he died; but there were many 
people who believed that the poison was a farce, and that he was 
spirited away to England, where he is supposed to have lived for 
many years in hiding somewhere in the Lake district. The possi- 
bility of this escape was strenuously denied both by M. Delessert 
and the Procureur-General ; but it is significant that the former 
did not himself see the Duke's body, although it was his duty to 
do so. He was prevented by other business. 

Mademoiselle de Luzy was arrested and kept in soUtary con- 
finement. But when she was examined she gave her evidence 
clearly and simply. Nothing was elicited to show that she was 
particeps criminis, or even that her relations with the Duke had 
gone beyond the bounds of propriety. She was of course 
released, and afterwards married very respectably. 

All France was moved to the core by the horror of the crime ; 
but what aroused even more indignation than the murder itself 
was, as I well recollect, the widespread idea that for political 
reasons there had been a miscarriage of justice and that the 
murderer, owing to his exalted position, had been allowed to 
disappear scot-free. 

There were whisperings and mutterings, and grave doubts ex- 
pressed even in high places ; but in the lower strata of society, 
among the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, there were sullen, 
ominous thunder-growls boding ill for a government which had 
long since forfeited all claim to popularity ; the whole affair was 
shrouded in a mystery which was more than enough to excite 
the minds of a highly inflammable people. Repubhcans and 
Socialists had for some years been on the war-path : now they 
were goaded by laws gagging the press and proscribing public 
meetings. These laws, initiated by Guizot and furiously opposed 



Frankfort — Paris — Trouville 49 



by Thiers, brought about the final crash ; the revolution broke 
out, and on the 22nd of February, 1848, the King and his Queen 
were hounded out by the mob of Paris. A few days later a 
slippery old gentleman with a curious pear-shaped head and pro- 
fuse expressions of geniality — a commodity which he always kept 
in stock — landed at Newhaven. He said he was Mr. Smith. 

Whether the Due de Praslin died in prison, a suicide as well 
as a murderer, or whether his flight was connived at by the mighty, 
is one of those secrets which will remain hidden till the Day of 
Judgment. It used to be said that members of his family were 
in the habit of paying annual visits to him in England. The 
French authorities always scouted this idea ; but many years 
later facts came to my knowledge which proved that one of his 
very near relations did make a practice of coming to England 
periodically, and that during those expeditions he was for the 
most part lost to the sight of his friends. Whither he went no 
one knew. 

It is a strange coincidence that the fall of the last two monarchies 
in France — that of Louis Philippe and that of Louis Napol6on — 
should in each case have been heralded by a single murder. These 
were crimes which stirred the wildest passions, the fiercest and 
most unthinking resentments of the mob, and however unjustly, 
the penalty for them was paid by those who had no hand in them. 



VOL. 1. 



CHAPTER III 

ETON 

THERE are days in a man's life which he never forgets; 
his first day at school is one of them. My maiden appear- 
ance at Eton was in 1846, sixty-nine years ago at this time of 
writing, but that lovely day in May is as fresh in my memory 
as if it had been last week. I was only nine years old, but I 
suppose that I was rather impressionable for my time of Ufe, and 
my young imagination had been fired by the enthusiasm of my 
father and many of his friends, whose chief pride always had seemed 
to lie in the fact that they were old " Eton fellows." 

Their stories of school days — chiefly blood-curdling tales of 
scrapes and punishments borne with Spartan fortitude or avoided 
by hair's-breadth escapes, the chief joys of scholastic memory — 
had sunk deeply into my mind, so that Eton seemed very famiUar ; 
and yet when I faced its reality, the religio lod was a revelation. 
I remember the mixed feeling — a great joy, a shrinking fear — 
before the plunge into the great unknown ; the sorrow of leaving 
home, the freedom of new wings, the exultation of life. I remember 
the terror lest I should be guilty of some solecism upon which 
the wrath of the gods of the sixth form should fall ; I remember 
a heart throbbing as men's hearts might throb before a battle, 
when my father rang at Mr. John Hawtrey's* door (for I was to 
start in lower school) and my relief at the sight of his and Mrs. 

* Mr. John Hawtrey (cousin of the Head Master) kept a house at the comer 
of Keate's Lane reserved for boys of the lower school. There was no fagging 
in his house — ^but his boys were liable to outside fagging. He afterwards 
kept preparatory schools at Slough and later at Westgate-on-Sea. He was 
the lather of Mr. Charles Hawtrey, the famous actor- 

30 



Eton 51 

Hawtrey's kind faces, and of the comfortable matron, Mrs. 
Paramour, ample of bosom and sympathy, to whose care I was 
commended ! 

Then the awe of being led through the gate into the school- 
yard with the statue of the King-Founder and the entrance to 
the cloisters under Lupton's tower, from the ground-floor room 
on the right of which there issued the weird and muffled noises 
of a not unmelodioiis flute — sounds that were to become very 
familiar to me later on, for the room was occupied as a school- 
room by dear old Herr Schonerstedt, professor of Hebrew and 
German, who, like Tityrus and Frederic the Great, used to solace 
his leisure hours, which were many, with a flute. 

Thence into the playing fields, in which the elms planted in 
Charles the First's time, then at the zenith of their pride, now all 
dead and gone, were just putting forth their summer plumage ; 
Fellows' Pond, with a lazy pike or two basking on the surface ; 
Poet's Walk, Sixth Form Bench, and above all, the glory of 
Windsor Castle, most regal of palaces, towering above the Thames. 
How beautiful it all was, and how romantic ! The fairies must 
have been tripping in rings on the turf, the dryads tempted out 
of their barken hiding-places, the water-nymphs making high 
festival on the silver flood, so radiantly joyous was the day ! 

We lingered under the one oak tree standing in lonely majesty 
on the river bank, trying in vain to dip its boughs into the ripples 
on which the sunbeams were dancing ; we looked at Lord Welles- 
ley's weeping willows (I wonder whether the planting of them 
by the great Duke's brother might have had some dim connection 
with St. Helena). It was delightful wandering through those 
Elysian fields in which every tree, every comer was a peg upon 
which our elders could hang a story of thirty years ago — ^the fields 
that the Duke of Wellington loved to the end of his days. We 
were to go to luncheon with the Head Master, my father's old 
tutor and lifelong friend. He used often to come and see us in 
the holidays, and so was perhaps not quite such a figure of awe 
to me as he was to most new boys. 

But before penetrating into Weston's Yard, where the new 
VOL I 4* 



52 Memories 



College buildings had recently been erected, we must cast one 
glance at the corner of the playing fields known as " Sixpenny " 
— just below what was then Miss Edgar, the dame's, tumbledown 
old labyrinth of a house — the classic place for battles in the past, 
where I was to see many a famous fight in the next few years. 
From " Sixpenny " it was that in 1825 the great Lord Shaftes- 
bury's younger brother, Francis Ashley, was carried home to die 
from exhaustion after fighting with a boy of the name of Wood 
lor the best part of two hours. I witnessed three fierce fights 
that were nearly as bad, and many lesser battles, but the subject 
is only worth alluding to because it is dead. There is no fighting 
now, I believe ; perhaps, savage as it may seem to say so, that 
is not altogether an advantage. Dr. Hawtrey once said to me, 
"If two boys have a quarrel I would rather see them fight it out. 
They shake hands afterwards, and become firm friends ; but this 
grudge-bearing is dreadful and has no end." 

Boys form great friendships at school ; they also form great 
antipathies. There was a boy at Eton, a few years older than 
myself, who was an arch-bully. For some reason he bore me a 
special spite ; his methods of torture were curious and ingenious. 
If I saw him in the distance I fled. I have heard that he is a good, 
gentle, harmless old gentleman, a kind landlord, a Chairman of 
a Board of Guardians, greatly respected — but I should still dread 
to meet him. 

Venerable and imposing, very dear to us who loved him well, 
was the figure of Edward Craven Hawtrey, the Head Master of 
Eton. He was not a handsome man, indeed so far as features 
were concerned, he was distinctly the reverse; but he was tall 
and upright, with the dignity of a commander of boys or men. 
When he called Absence on the Chapel steps, dressed in his cassock 
and doctor's gown, his presence was imposing. When he went 
out walking his attire was scrupulously neat, with as much smart- 
ness as might become a cleric of high degree. He always wore 
a frock-coat with a deep velvet collar, with which the high white 
cravat of those days and his silver hair, worn slightly, but not 
unduly long, made a fine contrast. Skilled " in the nice conduct 
of a clouded cane," he looked essentially a gentleman, a clergyman 







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Eton 53 

of the best old school. He was a traveller, a man of the world 
and a linguist, proficient in French, German and Italian, able 
to hold his own, and always welcome, in the political and learned 
society of many continental cities and universities. His per 
sonality was as well known in Paris, Rome, and the great German 
towns as in London or at Windsor. 

To be a good head master of Eton demands many qualifica- 
tions. Dr. Hawtrey had them all ; he seemed born for the post, 
so admirably did he fit it. His hospitality was unbounded, and 
when on a great gala day like the Fourth of June he welcomed as 
guests many of the greatest people of the kingdom, it was a lesson 
to see the lofty yet kindly courtesy with which he maintained the 
dignity of what he j lastly conceived to be his great office. His 
tall, stately figure stalking amongst the smartly millinered ladies 
in his little slip of a garden was indeed princely. 

Later in life I met him in Paris, surrounded by some of the 
most notable men of the day, leaders of thought, who rejoiced in 
the society of the great head master, and in listening to his cultured, 
many-sided, cosmopolitan talk. He was equally at home in more 
frivolous surroundings. He was welcome everjrwhere ; at a 
gathering at Stafford House he would wander through the famous 
galleries, a pet guest of the great Duchess Harriet, stopped every 
here and there by some reigning beauty, eager to greet and make 
much of the genial old man of whom she had heard so many kindly 
tales from husband or brothers, the old boys whom he loved and 
who loved him. Queen Victoria had the greatest regard for him, 
and it was his inspiration which induced Prince Albert to found 
the Prince Consort's prizes for modern languages at Eton — a 
princely boon as wise as it was generous. 

I was often invited to his breakfast parties, which were interest- 
ing feasts, for he frequently had some man of note staying with 
him. More than once I met Guizot there after the collapse of the 
monarchy in 1848 — a quiet, grey-haired old gentleman whom it 
was difficult to imagine facing the stormy Chamber with his famous 
" Criez, messieurs ! hurlez ! vos oris n'atteindront jamais le niveau 
de mon dedain ! " 

Monsieur de Circourt was another friend of Hawtrey's. One 



54 Memories 



morning at breakfast — it must have been about the year '50 or '51 
— ^the Irish famine was being discussed. M. de Circourt, who 
prided himself 'on his knowledge of England, and more especially 
of our language, startled the table by saying : " But why did you 
not feed zem wiz mice ? " (maize). The host without a smile 
answered : " Oh ! but we did send them quantities of Indian 
com," and so cleverly turning the difficulty, saved his guest's face. 
His wit was very ready — and would sometimes manifest itself 
in very unexpected moments. On one occasion, a boy of the 
name of Bosanquet was sent up to the Head Master for execution. 
The paraphernalia of doom were all in order ; the block was drawn 
out from the wall, and two small collegers stood beside it — the 
holders-down. The sixth form Praepositor handed the rod to the 
Doctor with the " bill " upon which were written the names of 
the victims. Hawtrey read out : " Bosanquet ! " The boy cor- 
rected him rather pertly : " Please, sir, my name is Bosanquet not 

Bosanquet. 

" Sive tu mavis Bosanquet vocari 
Sive Bosanquet,"* 

answered Hawtrey, pointing majestically to the block with his 
long rod. He was so pleased with his neat paraphrase of Horace 
that the metrically injured boy got off very cheap. 

One night three boys, Gerry Goodlake, who afterwards won 
the V.C. at the battle of the Alma, Suttie and another whose name 
I have forgotten, got out of their tutor's (Elliot's) house, disguised 
as navvies, went up town and procured a liberal supply of the 
materials necessary for the brewing of a bowl of rum punch, with 
which they managed, as they hoped unseen, to get back into their 
rooms. Unfortunately for them old Bott, the good old Waterloo 
man -Ovho was the College policeman, had marked them down, 
and at the moment when the brew was steaming fragrance in 
walked the tutor. The result was, of course, an execution, the 
anticipation of which aroused such a fever in the school that many 
boys committed small crimes in the hope of having a fine view of 
the tragedy at the expense of the traditional four cuts of the birch. 

• " Sive tu Lucina probas vocari. 

Sen Genitalis." — Horace, "Carmen Seculare," 15. 



Eton 55 

Hawtrey was bewildered by the number of " bills " that kept 
coming in ; but he knew his boys and he smelt a rat, so he decided 
to hold the great execution d huts clos, divided the remaining 
" complaints " into two halves — kept one half himself to be dealt 
with at future " after schools," and sent the other half down to 
Dickie Okes* to be attended to in lower school. Great was the 
disappointment of the bloodthirsty little villains at the Doctor's 
cleverness. 

In Sir Henry Maxwell Lyte's otherwise admirable " History of 
Eton College " there is one great blemish in the very niggardly 
praise, or perhaps it would be more truthful to say the very liberal 
dispraise, which is attached to Hawtrey's scholarship. We are 
continually being told that it was inaccurate. In one very unjust 
passage it is contended in addition " that he was not thoroughly 
well-informed, though he spent thirty thousand pounds on books ; " 
that " he could not estimate correctly the intellectual development 
of younger men, though he corresponded with the leaders of England 
and France ; " that " he was not qualified to train schoolboys, like 
Vaughan and Kennedy," etc., etc., etc. 

Not for one moment would I detract from the teaching of 1hose 
great masters. All that I care to insist upon is the immense value 
of Hawtrey's teaching, equally'as good as theirs, though different ; the 
boys felt that his object was not so much to make the divine poetry 
of the Greeks nothing but a peg upon which to hang a discussion 
on grammatical problems, but in addition to reveal the soul which 
animated the work, and so to arouse a love of philology, lighting 
in the young minds of his scholars the same spark of enthusiasm 
which had been the beacon illuminating and making beautiful 
his own life. Surely if this be dilettantism, it is also that which 
draws the highest value out of what is called a classical education. 
Profoundly versed in the European classics, he was able to illustrate 
his lectures by quotations from French, German, and Italian 
sources, and so by his observations in comparative criticism he 
would galvanize into new life the beauties of the ancient writers, 
redeeming them from that deterrent dullness which attaches to 
what are looked upon as lessons. The result of his teaching can 

* The lower master ; afterwards Provost of King's College, Cambridge. 



56 Memories 



be seen by the great position attained by his pupils in their after 
life in the great world. 

As an older boy, and later as a young man, I often had the 
chance of listening to his talk upon classical subjects, which was 
in the highest degree interesting and stimulating. I only wish 
that Sir Henry Maxwell Lyte had had the same opportunity ; I 
think, that his estimate of Dr. Hawtrey would have been very 
different. There was something bright and sunny and joyous 
in his scholarship, which was absolutely free from all pedantry, 
and was totally different from that of the two men who preceded 
and followed him in his office. 

Dr. Keate was a stern, severe disciplinarian ; indeed, in the 
remembrance of his severity people are apt to forget that he was 
famous for sound and accurate scholarship. Dr. Goodford, too, 
was a great scholar, but his learning was rather of a dull, dry-as-dust 
type. In his classes the Greek particles reigned supreme — ^imagina- 
tion, the winged child of the muses, flew away into space, scared 
by the digamma. It used to be said that his children, aged five 
and six, were translating Plato, while the poodle dog looked out 
the words in Liddell and Scott's dictionary — then, by the bye, a 
new apparition. 

Hawtrey, on the contrary, was full of fun — ^witness some of 
his translations in the " Arundines Cami." He could turn an 
epigram in French, Italian or German such as would deceive the 
very elect into the belief that it was the work of a native ; some 
of his Italian poems, privately printed, won special praise from 
those best capable of judging. His appreciation of wit was alive 
to the last. When he was already a very old man, and I a clerk 
in the Foreign Office, I remember the enthusiasm with which he 
welcomed the arrival of Mrs. Poyser to enrich the gaiety of the 
world. It was this spirit of fun which enabled him to enter into 
the wildest pranks of his boys — ^so long as they were harmless. 

Windsor Fair, held in Bachelor's Acre, was a forbidden play- 
ground for the younger boys. The sixth form, on the other hand, 
went there to act as police. Once I had been sent for to dine 
with the Head Master, with whom my father was staying during 
the Fair time. He came in rather late, dressed in cap and gown 



Eton 57 

laughing merrily, and carrying half a dozen penny dolls, 
monkey-sticks, and toys which had been laid upon his desk. 
" What in the name of wonder have you got there ? " asked my 
father. " I always get my fairings," he said. He made the life 
of a pedagogue a life of sympathy and good comradeship, and 
so a life of joy for all who came under his kindly rule. What 
wonder that he was adored ? 

After all, the worth of the work for good or for evil which has 
been done by an administrator must be judged by the fruit which 
it has borne. How did Hawtrey find Eton ? how did he leave 
it ? Happily we are able to call upon a great and unimpeachable 
witness. It was Hawtrey who first sent up for good Mr. Glad- 
stone. " It was," he writes, " an event in my life. He and it 
together then for the first time inspired me with a desire to learn 
and to do." Again — " The popular supposition is " (Mr. Glad- 
stone, January 3, 1890), " that Eton from 1830 onwards was swept 
along by a tide of renovation due to the fame and contagiou 
example of Dr. Arnold. But this, in my opinion, is an error 
Eton was in a singularly small degree open to influence from other 
public schools. There were three persons to whom Eton was 
more indebted than any others for the new life poured into her 
arteries : Dr. Hawtrey, the contemporary Duke of Newcastle, 
and Bishop Selwyn."* 

In 1846, the year of which I am writing, mathemathics were 
no part of the school curriculum, which remained untouched as it 
had been from all time. Hawtrey in 185 1 made mathematics 
compulsory, to the intense disgust of all us, little conservatives to 
the core, who considered that the knowledge that two and two 
make four might be an accomphshment, but formed no part of 
the education of a gentleman. He substituted competition for 
nomination to scholarships on the foundation. He fostered the 
study of modern languages, promoted examinations, and did all 
that was in his power to bring Eton up to the standard required 
by modem advancement and culture. 

His greatest feat, achieved in the face of cruel unpopularity, was 
the abohtion of Montem. He was wise enough to see that a custom 
* " Dictionary of National Biography.'' 



58 Memories 



kindly and picturesque in old days, must, with the arrival of the 
railway, which did away with all the privacy of Eton, degenerate 
into an ugly saturnalia. So long as the festival was confined to 
the friends and relations of the boys, it was all very well to collect 
from parents, old boys and their friends " Salt," a sum destined 
to help the senior colleger in his first year at Cambridge. But 
now, with the influx of a mob from London, it must become a 
degradation. Many influences were against him, not in Eton 
alone, but in the greater world outside ; wisely he stuck to his 
guns, and Montem ceased to exist. Generous as always, when 
the triennial feast came round in 1847, he gave, out of his own 
purse, to the parents of the boy who would have profited by the 
" Salt " a present of three hundred pounds. How strong the 
feeling was is shown by the fact that on that day some of the 
masters were stoned on their way to school. It is only fair to 
say that Provost Hodgson, who succeeded Goodall, backed up the 
Head Master in this crisis. 

I may record another instance of his large-hearted love of 
giving. An old friend and colleague of his had got himself into 
financial difficulties. Hawtrey could not see the home of a 
brilliant man broken up and himself brought to a pecuniary 
misery. He paid up all debts and set his friend free. He was 
rewarded by the blackest and most treacherous ingratitude. He 
never uttered a reproach, but I have reason to know that he was 
cut to the quick. He suffered in silence. 

Such was the dear old man who bent down to welcome me, 
the little boy whom he had known in petticoats, on my first entry 
into his kingdom. Smiling and laughing, brimming over with 
kindness, he regaled me with all sorts of delightful old-time tales 
of his own school days, little experiences all chosen because in 
them there was just a taste of schoolboy wisdom : some useful 
hint conveyed with fun and merriment ; advice not flung like a 
cricket ball at the youngster's head, but just brought out in such 
a way as to be reassuring and encouraging. That luncheon was a 
memorable episode in a memorable day, and it was the first link in 
a long chain of kindnesses which lasted during the eight years that 
I was at Eton, and did not abate until the good man's death in 1862. 



Eton 59 

The consulate of Dr. Hawtrey was a time of transition at Eton 
as elsewhere. The Eton to which I was sent in 1846 differed in 
little from that which my father had known some thirty years 
earlier. With the exception of the new College buildings, only 
just finished, in Weston's Yard, the outer aspect of the place had 
undergone no change. There were the same old tumbledown, 
crazy tenements with weather-stained walls and patched roofs, 
occupied by tutors and dames. All the sanitary arrangements — 
save the word ! — were primitively disgusting. Baths were un- 
known. During the siunmer months, by the grace of Fathei 
Thames, there was bathing in Cuckoo Weir, at Upper Hope, and 
at Athens, but from September till about May foot-tubs of hot 
water carried to the various rooms on a Saturday night represented 
all the cleanliness that was deemed necessary. 

The Reform Act and new forces, born of railways and machinery, 
and what were by many derided as new-fangled fads of hygiene 
were compelling and irresistible. During the last two years of 
my schoolboyhood the cold tub had become an institution of every 
morning. Many other improvements were in progress and have 
long since been carried out. 

The head master's house, if an anachronism, was eminently 
fitted to its venerable and book-loving tenant. It still stands, 
a picturesque building of which the red bricks and tiles have grown 
hoary with age, long, low and rambling, flush with the Slough Road 
on one side, separated on the other from Weston's Yard by a narrow 
strip of garden. It was so shallow that, like Hampton Court, Berke- 
ley Castle, and many old-fashioned buildings, it consisted only of a 
succession of rooms leading into one another. On the first floor a 
very meagre passage had been negotiated, so as to give some privacy 
to bedrooms, but on the ground floor there was nothing but a chain 
of rooms. From floor to ceiling every room was lined with book- 
cases criss-crossed with thick brass wires, in which the treasures 
which were the accumulation of a lifetime were amassed. Even 
the bedrooms were fitted in the isame way. It was one huge library. 

I do not remember any works of art or ornaments with the excep- 
tion of one of Wedgwood's copies of the Portland Vase. When 
Provost Hodgson died on the 29th of December, 1852, Dr. Hawtrey 



6o Memories 



succeeded him. The drop in income was considerable, and he had 
been too large a giver to have saved anything. A great portion of 
the library had to be sold, and it went for what even at that time 
was a song. What would it have been worth now ? Before chang- 
ing over into the Provost's lodge. Dr. Hawtrey sent for me and gave 
me, as a keepsake in memory of many happy days spent with him 
among his books, a beautiful little Elzevir Livy. To my father, his 
old pupU, he gave a grand copy of Tasso. 

The house is very old, having been occupied by Sir Henry Savile, 
the handsome lay Provost whose appointment by Queen Elizabeth 
in May, 1596, " any statute, act or canon to the contrary notwith- 
standing," raised a small storm. Here he set up his printing-press, 
and in 1613 published his great edition of S. Chrysostom in eight 
folio volumes. He also printed Xenophon's " Cyropaedia " and 
Thomas Bradwardine's " De Causa Dei contra Pelagium." With the 
Provostship of Eton he combined the office of Warden of Merton 
College at Oxford. 

Probably no private house can claim such a connection with 
books and letters. For many years now it has been occupied by 
the Precentor, Dr. Law — and it seems likely to remain the ofi&cial 
home of music. 

Hawtrey's reforms would probably have been carried out much 
sooner — perhaps even Keate might have fathered some of them 
— but Provost Goodall, a grand and courtly gentleman of the old 
school, had the faults of his qualities ; he was the deadly enemy of 
change ; he was one of those men to whom progress means disaster, 
and having the might to spoke the wheels of the coach, he used it 
with such effect that Hawtrey was practically powerless. But in 
1840 Provost Goodall died, and after some trouble between the 
Court and the Fellows, the candidate favoured by Queen Victoria 
was appointed, and Archdeacon Hodgson, the intimate friend of 
Lord Byron, became Provost. 

Lyte's history shows how keenly the new Provost set to work 
to improve the position of the collegers, and how ably he was 
seconded by Hawtrey. The new buildings in Weston's Yard were 
the result, and they, with the two red-brick houses by Keate s Lane 
opposite upper school, were the only substantial additions made to 



Eton 6i 

the College since the early days of the nineteenth century. The 
two doughty champions worked well together — Hodgson for the 
much-wronged collegers ; Hawtrey determined that Eton should no 
longer be a mere school of ornamental classical culture for the smah 
minority who could or would take advantage of it, but should march 
with the times, and give a boy such an education as would fit him 
to play a practical part in a world which was beginning to be very 
much on the move. 

It is almost incredible in these days that, as I have said above, 
until the year 1851 mathematics were no part of the school work 
French, German and Italian were, needless to say, in the same boat. 
That Frenchmen should exist and have a language of their own was, 
however deplorable, an admitted fact, but only on condition that 
one Englishman should be equal to four Frenchmen, or, according 
to Boswell in his adulation of Johnson, forty. Such were the archaic 
doctrines in which we were brought up, until wise Dr. Hawtrey swept 
all the old cobwebs away. 

When at last mathematics were introduced, Mr. Stephen Hawtrey, 
a cousin of the Doctor's, who had been a high wrangler at Cambridge, 
was appointed master. In order to parcel out the boys into divi- 
sions under his several assistants he had to hold an examination. 
Naturally the object of every one of us was to make as bad a show 
as possible in order to be put into an easy place. When my form 
came up for viva voce, question after question did the unhappy man 
put. No answer. At last in despair he cried : " Is there no boy 
here who can tell me what twice two makes ? " After a pause, 
" Yes, sir ! Please, sir, I can ! " said a very cunning little chap 

called K . " Well, what is it ? " " Five, sir, please, sir ! " 

There were many applauding grins, but for that day Stephanos, as 
he was called, gave up our form in despair. What troublous days 
the poor assistant mathematical masters suffered ! How they were 
teased and worried ! Very foolishly, the authorities would not give 
them the same status that the classical masters enjoyed ; they were 
not allowed to wear cap and gown, and might not complain to the 
Head Master direct. Of course this encouraged the boys to be as 
rebellious and wicked as they pleased; and being boys, they took 
royal advantage of it. 



62 Memories 



Talking of extras, I do not think that many boys in my time 
learned French ; still fewer German. Old Mr. Tarver, of dictionary 
fame, the French master, was a very charming person, liked by all 
of us who knew him. His story was curious. He was an English- 
man bom at Dieppe in 1790. His parents were imprisoned in 
France in 1793, while he was staying at the house of a friend, M. 
Feval, who was chief engineer in the Fonts et Chauss^es of the 
Seine Inferieure. When his parents escaped to England he was 
left behind, and it was not until 1814, after holding various appoint- 
ments, amongst others that of Secretary to the Admiral of the 
French fleet at Toulon and in other places, that he was able to seek 
them out. His father was dead, but his mother was still alive. 

After holding different educational posts, amongst others that of 
tutor to the Duke of Cambridge, he became French master, and held 
the place for twenty-five years. He died in 1851, and was suc- 
ceeded by his sons, Henry and Frank. He had a pupil-room iii the 
Christopher Inn Yard, and I used often to go and pay him a little 
visit, quite apart from lessons, and listen to the stories of his old 
adventures. One of his sons, Charles, was classical tutor to King 
Edward when Prince of Wales. 

To Herr Schonerstedt and his beloved flute I have already 
alluded. He was a tall, handsome, very courtly gentleman. If a 
boy met him in the street he would treat him as ceremoniously as 
if he were a Russian Grand Duke, never forgetting, even if he were 
meditating revenge for some crime, to make a sweeping bow and 
take leave with a grandiloquent "gehorsamer Diener." With 
Signor Sinibaldi I had little more than a forefinger-to-hat 
acquaintance. 

Such were the materials out of which the new Eton was evolved. 
All the principal changes took place in my time. I was born under 
the old dispensation and I lived through the transition stage into 
the new. Revolutions, even in a school system, are not brought to 
maturity in a day, and those who read Sir Henry Maxwell Lyte will 
see that time was needed to make the new machinery work smoothly. 

Provost Hodgson, as I recollect him, was a short, fat, sturdy 
little man, almost as broad as he was long, waddling not with- 
out a certain web-footed dignity out of the Provost's Lodge 



Eton ^3 

into Weston's Yard, but how difficult it was to think of him as 
the cherished friend of the romantic, devil-may-care poet, rebel 
against all law and convention. Later in life I got to know 
Lord Broughton. Here again was a contrast with Byron — the 
reverend, calm, wise and judicious statesman, and the wild. 
defiant child of genius. Those who cry out so loudly against 
the unhappy poet might pause and ask themselves whether, since 
he could inspire undying affection in two such men, he himself 
could be all bad. 

As I have said, we were in a period of transition. There were 
here and there a few old gentlemen who, clinging desperately to 
ancient traditions, refused to exchange their knee-breeches with 
bunches of ribbons at the knee for the vulgar but comfortable 
trousers. Knee-breeches were the outward and visible sign of 
obstruction. Among the Fellows of Eton two of these faithful 
veterans still lived and hindered — Mr. Bethell and Mr. Plumptre. 
Mr. Bethell was a fine old dignitary of the Church, handsome and 
well-nourished, with a glowing face and noble paunch, suggestive 
of a good cook, an excellent digestion, and a well-stored cellar. He 
was the hero of the crusty old story of the days when he was a 
master : " ' iErati postes ' — ' brazen gates ' — very good translation ; 
probably so called because they were made of Brass." He had been a 
friend of some of my people, so I was sometimes invited to breakfast 
with him. The rolls were memorable. Mr. Plumptre was famous 
for sermons of appalling length, preached upon texts that were 
absolutely grotesque. 

Lyte quotes several of these, but this I think is better than any 
that he gives. Being asked once to preach a sermon to the Blue- 
coat boys, he took for his text : " Moreover his mother made him a 
little coat and brought it to him from year to year." As the poor 
old gentleman had not a tooth left in his head, his sermons, 
bellowed out at the top of a powerful but very indistinct voice, 
were exquisitely comic. 

Plumptre's defence of Montem is historic ; he believed it to have 
been substituted for a triennial procession in honour of the Virgin 
Mary, and that therefore it ought to be preserved as a sort of protest 



64 Memories 



against Popery.* It is only iair to say that in this case and some 
others Mr. Bethell sided with the Provost and Head Master. The 
Fellows, however powerful Hodgson and Hawtrey might be, had 
still a toothless voice in the government of the College. There was 
a long and tough fight over every innovation, but in the end common 
sense prevailed over the knee-breeches. It was not long before the 
last of these disappeared in the waters of Lethe. 

After all, they could claim a goodly record for the old dispensation. 
Even in their own narrow scholastic circle they could point to great 
teachers like Keatef and Hawtrey ; among the assistant masters 
were Edward Coleridge, a famous tutor, son-in-law of Keate, who 
certainly came up to the Greek definition of a gentleman : " hand- 
some and good ; " Cookesley, a crank, but a brilliant scholar, 
delighting in Pindar and Greek metrical problems ; Carter, clever, 
but perhaps a little too eager to exact heavy payment for the 
pleasures of idleness ; my own excellent tutor, best and kindest of 
men, Francis Edward Dumf ord ; Edward Balston, afterwards Head 
Master, another Kokog k ayadoc ; William Johnson, who afterwards 
changed his name to Cory, a sound scholar, and no mean poet. 
These were all men of a very high standard, the children of 
the old Eton herself, children of whom the kind mother might well 
be proud. 

But the old school had to take note of a new sharpness in the 
struggle for life. Not the schoolmaster only, but the examiner, was 
abroad, and the time had come when every position, no matter 
how humble, must be won by hard fighting. So the last three years 

* See Maxwell Lyte'S/" History of Eton College," p. 526, Ed. 1899. 

t There can be very few people now living who have seen and talked 
with the famous Dr. Keate, who was nailed in his desk during the great 
rebellion and flogged eighty boys in one day. My father, on one of his visits 
to Eton, took me up to see him in the cloisters at Windsor, where he was 
canon. In appearance he was exactly like the many caricatures that one 
used to see of him, but the truculent hero of the birch and block, so faithfully 
painted by Kinglake in " Eothen," had grown into a gentle, mild, little old 
man, of whom it was difficult to believe that he had ever flogged a boy or 
uttered a harsh word. He had abandoned " the fancy dress, partly re- 
sembling the costume of Napoleon and partly that of a widow woman " 
(" Eothen," p. 276, Ed. 1896), and was now garbed as a commonplace Early 
Victorian parson 



I Eton 65 

of the eight which I spent at Eton were lived in altered circum- 
stances. Many changes, and doubtless great improvements, have 
been effected since then, but the first great upheaval took place in 
1851 and was due to the genius and foresight of Dr. Hawtrey. Far 
too much credit for all this has been given to Dr. Goodford. It 
is true that many alterations took place during his tenure of office, 
but they had almost all been proposed by Dr. Hawtrey and were 
only delayed by the obstruction of some of the old men, with Provost 
Goodall at their head. When Hawtrey became Provost, Goodford's 
path was smoothed by the very man who had laid its foundation. 
I, who though a boy or a very young man was much behind the 
scenes, know to whom the palm was due. 

I was still but a small creature, and not very strong, when I went 
to Evans's, so I was put into the private part of the house, and 
Miss Jennie Evans, then a tall young lady of about twenty, took me 
under her wing. About fifty years afterwards, when she had 
succeeded to her good old father's damery, and I took my boy to 
be in her house, she said to him, pointing to the staircase : " Many 
and many a time I have carried your father pick-a-back up those 
stairs." When she died in January, 1906, the last of the dames, 
her loss meant the close of a long chapter in the history of 
Eton. She was a beloved lady. 

By degrees I sprouted and grew, and so I was moved into the main 
body of the house, where I had a snug little room with young Charles 
Dickens for my next-door neighbour. We soon became allies, and 
with half a dozen other boys started a little newspaper club which 
developed into a big success. In the " Dictionary of National 
Biography " his name is given as " Charles " only. He was 
christened, as he told me, Charles Boz Dickens. When he was 
taken to the font on his baptism, and the parson told the godfather 
to " name this child," the sponsor said " Charles," but the old grand- 
father, the prototype of Mr. Micawber, as proud as Punch of his 
already famous son, cried out " Boz," and " Charles Boz " he became 
accordingly. My friendship with him led to my first acquaintance 
with his great father, who came down to Eton one fine summer's 
day, with Mark Lemon and, I think, Shirley Brooks, and took several 
of us up the river to Maidenhead. 

VOL I 5 



66 Memories 



What a day that was ! The great man was fiill of life, bubbling 
over with fun, the youngest boy of the party. I often met him in 
after life, but then, wonderful as he was upon occasions, his face when 
at rest already showed signs of fatigue ; the strenuous work had told 
upon him ; he looked careworn and older than his years. I like to 
think of him as he was on that day at Maidenhead, brilliant, young 
and gay, the spirit of joy incarnate. It was at the time when he 
was writing " Bleak House." I never saw his son after our Eton 
days. He was a clever boy, but he did not achieve as much in life 
as he might have done ; perhaps he never quite found his legs. 
In letters, no doubt, he felt crushed by his own great name ; he 
went into business, for which it seems he had no aptitude, and he 
died when still in the prime of life. 

Eton has been the Alma Mater of many of the eminent men 
who have played a foremost part in the history of England. In 
my day there were many brilliant boys, some of whom distinguished 
themselves in after life. Of my own immediate contemporaries 
none could be held to come up to Sir Michael Hicks Beach, now 
Lord St. Aldw5m. There was no W. E. Gladstone ; Lord Salisbury, 
then Lord Robert Cecil, and Lord Roberts had just left ; Arthur 
Balfour, Lord Rosebery and Lord Randolph Churchill were not 
yet. Our fellows did well enough, though we did not produce a 
Phoenix. Alfred Thesiger died as a Lord Justice of Appeal at an 
age when many men are wondering whether they wiU ever get a 
brief. 

Montague Williams was famous as a police magistrate ; in the 
Civil Service we could count as permanent heads of departments. 
Lord Welby at the Treasury, Lord Tenterden, Lord Currie and 
Lord Sanderson at the Foreign Office, Sir Robert Herbert at the 
Colonial Office, Sir Charles Rivers Wilson at the National Debt 
Office, Sir Algernon West at the Inland Revenue, Sir Stevenson 
Blackwood at the Post Office, followed by Sir Spencer Walpole, 
who also achieved fame as an historian. Sir Charles Fremiantle 
at the Mint, myself at the Office of Works. 

I have heard it objected that Eton's successes are due to the 
fact that its boys belong to " the governing classes." They forget 
that for the last fifty years and more the entry into the Civil 



Eton 67 

Service has been by public examination. I myself entered the 
Foreign Office by competition just fifty-seven years ago. Even in 
old days, it was only the first appointments that were given by 
patronage. The higher posts, what one might call the Staff 
appointments, were given by selection for merit. Ministers were 
far too dependent upon the ability and industry of the permanent 
heads of departments to hamper themselves with incompetent 
men. Judged at the bar of public opinion, the men whom I have 
mentioned will not be found wanting. 

In politics and diplomacy we could claim our fair share of 
Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors and Envoys Extraordinary. Our 
great president of Pop, Edmond Wodehouse, and his inseparable 
friend Reginald Yorke were as great in the cricket and football 
fields as they were in Library, born leaders of boys. Even when 
he was a lad Wodehouse' s speeches, models ot the purest English 
delivered with a gentle musical voice, were very attractive ; he 
was afterwards, as member for Bath, a prominent Liberal 
Unionist — prominent rather in spite of himself, for he sought 
no office ; and it was a matter of universal opinion that his plat- 
form oratory at the time of the split in the Liberal party was 
second only to that of Mr. Chamberlain. A breakdown in 
health robbed the State of a great servant — Eton of the fame 
of an illustrious son. Yorke, after a brilliant outset, gave up 
public life much too early ; he lacked ambition, which, had he 
possessed it, must have driven him into very high places. He, 
alas ! is no more. When he died I lost a friend of more than 
sixty years. But when I first went to Eton the idol before whom 
all we small imps prostrated ourselves was the great Chitty, after- 
wards Lord Justice of Appeal. He was indeed an Admirable 
Crichton. Wicket-keeper in the eleven at Eton, he twice played 
at Lords in the University eleven, the second time as captain 
Then he took to the river, and stroked the University eight for 
three years ; took a first class and the Vinerian Scholarship, and 
was for many years umpire to the boat-race of the Blues. Long 
after he had left we spoke of him with bated breath as fitted to be 
one of the chosen guests at the banquets of high Olympus. Should 
we not in the same category, as another Admirable Crichton, place 
VOL. I 5* 



68 Memories 



Dr. Warre, scholar, athlete, Head Master — Provost ? He was in 
the same division as myself. 

Of all the boys of my time who made a name for themselves 
in the world by far the most remarkable was my cousin Algernon 
Charles Swinburne, that wayward child of the Muses. I am glad 
to know that his life is being written by a brother poet, a foremost 
man of letters, who knew him intimately in his most brilliant 
days, a man who is possessed of all those qualities which Dr. 
Johnson deemed to be indispensable in a good biographer. Mr. 
Gosse, knowing my relationship to Swinburne, asked me to furnish 
him with some particulars as to the poet's schoolboy life ; this I 
did in a letter written partly in answer to some foolish misstate- 
ments which appeared in a letter from another schoolfellow written 
to the Times. 

I was in hopes that Mr. Gosse, who printed the letter in a short 
biographical sketch which he issued privately in 1912, would have 
done me the honour of including my notice in the larger book 
upon which he is engaged. He, however, very generously insists 
that I must take back my humble gift, and make it part of my 
sketch of Eton. It would be chiurlish to refuse to obey the behest 
of so good a friend, and so I append from my letter to him such 
extracts as seem to be to the point. But how proud should 
I have been had they appeared for the first time under his 
aegis ! 

Swinburne entered Eton at the beginning of the summer half 
of 1849. His father the Admiral, a scion of the grand old North- 
lambrian family, and my aunt, Lady Jane, brought him, and at 
once sent for me to put him under my care. I was " to look after 
him." It is true that I was only a few weeks older than himself, 
and so, physically, not much of a protector ; but I had been three 
years at school, to which I was sent when I was nine years old, so 
I knew my Eton thoroughly, and was well versed in all its dear, 
delightful ways — mysteries bewildering to the uninitiated. I 
was already a little man of the world, at any rate of that microcosm 
which is a public school, and so I was able to steer my small cousin 
through some shoals. 

What a fragile little creature he seemed as he stood there between 



Eton 69 

his father and mother with his wondering eyes fixed upon me ! 
Under his arm he hugged his Bowdler's Shakespeare, a very precious 
treasure boimd in brown leather with, for a marker, a narrow slip 
of ribbon — ^blue I think — ^with a button of that most heathenish 
marqueterie called Tunbridge ware dangling from the end of it. 
He was strangely tiny. His limbs were small and delicate, and 
his sloping shoulders looked far too weak to carry his great head, 
the size of which was exaggerated by the tousled mass of red hair 
standing almost at right angles to it. Hero-worshippers talk of 
his hair as having been a " golden aureole." At that time there 
was nothing golden about it. Red, violent, aggressive red it was, 
unmistakable red, burnished copper. His features were small and 
beautiful, chiselled as daintily as those of some Greek sculptor's 
masterpiece. 

His skin was very white — not unhealthy, but a transparent 
tinted white such as one sees in the petals of some roses. His 
face was the very replica of that of his dear mother, and she was 
one of the most refined and lovely of women. What the colour 
of his eyes was I never knew — ^grey, green or brown, they reflected 
his mood and must have been of the same colour that his soul 
was at that moment; they could be soft and tender, blaze with 
rage, or sparkle with fire. His red hair must have come from the 
Admiral's side, for I never heard of a red-haired Ashbumham. 
The Admiral himself, whom I rarely saw, was, so well as my 
memory serves me, already grizzled, but his hair must have been 
originally very fair or even red. 

Another characteristic which Algernon inherited from his 
mother was the voice. All who knew him must remember that 
exquisitely soft voice with a rather sing-song intonation, like that 
of the Russians when they put the music of their own Slav voices 
into the French language. All his mother's brothers and sisters 
had it. He alone, so far as I know, among my cousins reproduced 
it. Listening to him sometimes I could almost fancy that I could 
hear my aunt herself speaking, so startling was the likeness. His 
language, even at that age, was beautiful, fanciful, and richly 
varied. Altogether my recollection of him in those school- 
days is that of a fascinating, most lovable httle fellow. It is 



•JO Memories 



but a child's impression of another child, but I believe it to 
be just. 

That morning, after the manner of little dogs and little boys, we 
stood and looked at one another shyly, suspiciously ; but by the 
time his parents left we had become fast friends and so we remained. 
We had something in common to make us sib besides the sister- 
hood of his mother and mine. On our fathers' side we both came 
from old Northumbrian stocks, and there is something in the 
Borderland which makes for a feeling of kinship, even if in ancient 
times there should have been blood feuds. Under the spell of the 
Border feeling Swinburne was bewitched ; it never lost its power 
over him. The wind blowing over those wild moors, which are still 
the home of legends and ballads of raids and fights and deeds of 
derring-do, had pierced his soul. He was a true son of Northumbria, 
and was eager to become a soldier and bear arms ; little creature 
as he was, had he lived in the old days, he would have carried a 
stout heart into any fray where there might be the clash of steel 
against morion and breastplate, leading a troop of his own people 
like Barry of the Comb, or Corbit Jock, in an expedition over the 
Border against Eliots and Kers, and Scots and Maxwells. He was 
born three centuries too late. 

Of course, being in different houses, we could not be so con- 
stantly together as if we had both been in the same house. I 
was at Evans's and Durnford was my tutor. He was at Joynes's 
and of course Joynes was his tutor. Still we often met, and 
pretty frequently breakfasted together, he with me, or I with him. 
Chocolate in his room, tea in mine. The guest brought his own 
" order " of rolls and butter, and the feast was made rich by the 
addition of sixpennsrworth of scraped beef or ham from Joe Groves's, 
a small sock-shop which was ahnost immediately under Joynes's 
house. Little gifts such as our humble purses could afford cemented 
our friendship ; I still possess and treasure an abbreviated edition 
of Froissart's Chronicles which Algernon gave me now, alas ! sixty- 
six years ago. We ourselves were abbreviated editions in those 
days, or rather duodecimos ! 

It was at Eton that he began to feel his wings. His bringing 
up at home had been scrupulously strict — his hterary diet the 



Eton 71 

veriest pap. His precocious brain had been nourished upon food 
for babes. Not a novel had he been allowed to open, not even 
Walter Scott's. Shakespeare he only knew through the medium 
of his precious brown Bowdler. Now he could travel over all the 
wide range of the boys' library, which was then alongside of the 
entrance to the Provost's Lodge in Weston's Yard. 

I can see him now, sitting perched up Turk-or-tailor-wise in one 
of the windows looking out on the Yard, with some huge old-world 
tome almost as big as himself on his lap, the afternoon sun settiag 
on fire the great mop of red hair. There it was that he emanci- 
pated himself, making acquaintance with Shakespeare (minus 
Bowdler), Marlowe, Spenser, Ben Jonson, Ford, Massinger, Beau- 
mont and Fletcher, and the other poets and playwrights of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His tendency was greatly 
towards the drama, especially the Tragic Drama. He had a great 
sense of humour in others ; he worshipped Dickens and would 
quote him (especially Mrs. Gamp) unwearyingly ; but his own 
genius leaned to Tragedy. 

It is absurd to pretend, as was said in a letter to the Times, 
that as a boy " he had an extraordinarily wide knowledge of the 
Greek poets, which he read with ease in the original." His study 
of the Greek tragedians, upon whose work he so largely modelled 
his own, came much later in life. At Eton these were lessons, 
and lessons are odious ; besides no one can assimilate ^schylus 
in homoeopathic doses of thirty lines, and he knew no more Greek 
than any intelligent boy of his age would do, nor did he take any 
prominent part in the regular school work, though he was a Prince 
Consort's prizeman for modern languages. His first love in 
literature was given to the English poets, and after or together 
with these he devoured the great classics of France and Italy. 
The foundations of his searching knowledge of the French and 
Italian languages were laid by his accomplished mother. Of 
German he was ignorant, so Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Wieland 
were sealed books to him. We may doubt whether they would 
have appealed to him, for he was essentially a classicist ; he 
might have been better in touch with Schlegel and Novalis, as more 
nearly akin to the romanticists wbom he loved, among whom 



72 Memories 



Victor Hugo was the object of his special reverence ; but that 
which I should call the Gothic in literature might never have 
existed for aught that he cared. 

How much he owed to his mother ! Lady Jane was an attractive 
and most distinguished woman. Her conversation was delightful, 
for her mind was a rich storehouse of all that was good and beautiful, 
and her rare gift of imparting what she knew was reflected in the 
bright light of the genius of her son and pupil. 

His memory was wonderful, his power of quotation almost 
unlimited. We used to take long walks together in Windsor 
Forest and in the Home Park, where the famous oak of Heme 
the Hunter was still standing, a white, lightning-blasted skeleton 
of a tree, a fitting haunt for " fairies black, grey, green and white," 
and a very favourite goal of our expeditions. As he walked with 
his peculiar dancing gait, tripping along like a young faun, his 
eyes gleaming with enthusiasm, his whole body quivering with 
excitement, and his hair, like the zazzera of his own beloved old 
Florentines, tossed about by the wind, he would pour out with 
that unforgettable voice of his the treasures which he had gathered 
at his last sitting in his favourite window-nook. 

Other boys would watch him with amazement, looking upon him 
as a sort of inspired elfin — a changeling from another sphere. None 
dreamt of interfering with him, and as for bullying, there was none 
of it. He carried with him one magic charm — he was absolutely 
brave. He did not know what fear meant. It is generally the 
coward, the weakling in character, far more than the weakling in 
thews and sinews, that is bullied. Swinburne's pluck as a boy 
always reminds me of Kinglake's description in " Eothen " of Dr. 
Keate, the famous Head Master of Eton: "He was little more 
(if more at all) than five feet in height, and was not very great in 
girth, but within this space was concentrated the pluck of ten 
battalions." That might have been written of Swinburne, and 
tiny as he was, I verily believe that had any boy, however big, 
attempted to bully him, that boy would have caught a Tartar. 

Of games he took no heed — they were not for his frail build ; 
lootball and cricket were nothing to him. I do not think that he 
ever possessed a cricket bat ; but he could swim like any frog and 



Eton 73 

of walking he never tired. And so he led a sort of charmed life, 
dreaming and reading, and chewing the cud of his gleanings from 
the world-harvest of poetry, a fairy child in the midst of a common- 
place, workaday world — as Horace said of himself, " non sine Dis 
animosus infans." 

I have spoken of his courage. He was no horseman, and had 
but little opportunity at home for riding, but in the matter of horses 
he was absolutely without terror. Unskilled as he was, he would 
back anything, as fearless as a centaur. As a boy, rides with his 
cousin. Lady Katherine Ashburnham, were among his great delights 
in that glorious, forest-like country about Ashburnham Place. My 
uncle, the great book-lover, had an instinctive appreciation of his 
genius long before he was famous, and always had a welcome 
for him. 

There is no truth in the story, coined I know not how, that Swin- 
burne disliked Eton. The poet was not made of the stuff which 
moulds the enthusiastic schoolboy, and I much doubt whether any 
school would, as such, have appealed to him. But Eton stands by 
itself. Its old traditions and its chivalrous memories, its glorious 
surroundings, meant for him something more than mere school : 
his mind dwelt upon the old grey towers, Windsor, the Forest, the 
Brocas, the Thames, Cuckoo Weir, with an affection which inspired 
his " Commemoration Ode," and which, I believe, never left him. 
The place touched his poet's soul as no other school could have done, 
and so it fitted him. 

Across all these decades I look back to the time when he and I 
were very small boys. There came a moment when fate drove us 
apart. We never had a quarrel, and no cross word ever passed 
between us, but I became a colleger, and between collegers and 
oppidans there was a great gulf fixed. By the time that I once 
more went back to be an oppidan, Swinburne had left Eton and our 
paths in life drifted further and further apart. Only once in after 
hfe did we meet. It was one evening at dinner at Whistler's. We 
went on one side together after dinner, and had one of those long 
talks over old days that are dear to schoolfellows' hearts. We 
arranged to meet again a few days later, but he was ailing, and could 
not keep the appointment — alas ! Sunt lachrymce rerum ' 



74 Memories 



I never saw him again. He lies in the lovely churchyard at 
Bonchurch with his father and the mother whom he tenderly loved, 
within sound of the roaring of the sea which during all his life was 
to him the sweetest of God's music. 

I have only noticed the most prominent of my schoolmates, 
but there is one more whom I must mention. Sir Francis Bumand, 
who for so many years led the merriment of the nation. Did I 
talk of memories ? Here at least is no memory, but a " happy 
thought," for he still lives, as gay, as bright, as laughter-loving and 
laughter-compelling as when he was a fourth-form boy. He remains 
the real Peter Pan, the bov who will not grow old. 

If it be true that the mountains in labour produce a ridiculous 
mouse, it is equally true that out of the smallest of molehills there 
are sometimes born colossal elephants. Some time in 1848 there 
appeared one day as a new boy a tall, handsome slip of a lad, very 
good-natured, very raw, fresh caught from Australia, as green as 
young wheat-;— George Salting. He was a good deal chaffed, never 
teased or bullied, he was too good for that. The spirit of the 
collector was born in him, and the foundation of the treasures which 
he amassed was laid in the purchase of half a walijut-shell. It 
happened in this wise. We lower boys used to delight at the proper 
season of the year in fighting one shell against another. The con- 
quering shell had the right to lay to its account not only the beaten 
enemy but also all the other shells which that particular enemy 
had defeated. One day there appeared at " the wall " in Long 
Walk a famous " cad " of those days, who produced a half -shell 
which had gained a thousand victories. Salting, always plentifully 
provided with money, gave five shillings for it. 

Alas ! the champion was shortly afterwards dethroned by a vulgar 
novice which had come into its owner's possession in the ordinary 
course of eating. Goliath was not a greater disappointment to the 
Philistine army. But, never mind ! out of that wonderful walnut- 
shell came in due course all the gems with which the National 
Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum have been enriched. 
Stand before Holbein's miniature of Anne of Cleves, Henry the 



Eton 75 

Eighth's " great Flanders mare," and think of that. From the 
walnut-shell, to borrow the famous word of Marechal Macmahon, 
he continued,* and if in his early days as a collector he was often a 
prey to unscrupulous dealers, he ended by gaining experience and 
became a good judge. Many were the practical jokes of which, as 
a boy, he was the good-humoured victim. 

One fine September evening — it must have been in 1850 or 185 1 ; 
we had just come back from the summer holidays — a knot of 
younger boys were gathered together at the end of Keate's Lane, 
and there was a grand recital of all the great events that had hap- 
pened in the halcyon days. One boy had killed a salmon, another 
had been out cub-hunting, a third had been out partridge-shooting 
with his father on the ist. Salting announced that he too had been 
out shooting on the ist. He was asked what he had shot. 

" I shot a yellowhammer," was the answer. 

" What ! " cried a small mosquito, " you don't mean to say that ! 
Don't you know what you have done ? " (Salting turned a little 
pale.) " Don't you know that after the battle of Waterloo King 
George the Third gave the Duke of Wellington the exclusive 
privilege of shooting yellowhammers on the first of September ? 
You had better write an apology at once, or there's no saying what 
may happen." All the boys put on very serious faces, and poor 
Salting was fairly terrified. A letter was drafted in which Mr. 
Salting presented his compliments to Field-Marshal the Duke of 
Wellington, K.G., and in stilted terms implored forgiveness for an 
offence unwittingly given. Two or three days later the answer 
came in which Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington presented his 
compliments to Mr. Salting, with the assurance that in the circum- 
stances, etc., etc. The offence was solemnly forgiven. Two 
Sundays later I was invited by old Sir Charles Mills, grandfather of 
the present Lord Hillingdon, to dine and sleep at Hillingdon. Mr. 
Algernon Greville, the Duke's private secretary, was there. I asked 

* At a distribution of prizes at one of the public schools at Paris, as boy 
after boy was brought up, he said, " Continuez, jeune homme ! Premier 
pnx de mathematiques, tres bien. Continuez, jeune homme." At last a 
Haytian boy was brought up to him. " Ah, c'est vous le ndgre. Continuez, 
jeune homme, continuez ! " 



7^ Memories 



him whether the Duke of Wellington had really received and 
answered the letter. Mr. Greville said that the Duke had not only 
received the letter, but, suspecting the joke, and greatly amused by 
it, insisted on answering it himself. Here would have been a begin- 
ning for a collection of autographs ! But Salting's tutor got hold 
of the letter and kept it ! 

To the end of his life I kept up a sort of fitful friendship with that 
amiable man. Slim, tall, and handsome in appearance, he altered 
very little. The last time that I saw him was not very long before 
his death. I met him in King Street, just outside Christie and 
Manson's, where some sale was going on. We stopped and talked, 
and I could not help noticing that, barring the long beard, it was 
still the old Salting of the yellowhammer days. 

There was one project which lay very near to Dr. Hawtrey's heart. 
Between the oppidans and the collegers there was a great gulf 
fixed. To bridge this over was his ambition. I have shown how 
Provost Hodgson and he had done much to improve the lives of the 
boys on the foundation. It had cost them infinite pains, and in his 
case great pecimiary sacrifices ; of that he took httle heed, for he 
was always open-handed, and to give was for him a necessity. By 
curtailing the Long Chamber and the erection of the new buildings 
in Weston's Yard, and by other corollary reforms, they had given 
the collegers a measure of decency and comfort which they had 
never enjoyed before. Hawtrey thought that the time had come 
when, with the help of these altered conditions, he could amalga- 
mate Eton into one uniform whole, collegers and oppidans, one body 
with one soul and one spirit, all invidious distinctions swept away, 
all jealousies stifled and done with. His plan was to get a number 
of boys who had already been some years in the school and had 
therefore made their friends among the oppidans to compete for 
college. He thought that in this way he would be introducing a 
leaven of intimacy between the two camps. In my time, at any 
rate, it was a complete failure. The only result was that the new- 
comers lost their oppidan friends, while from the old college hands 
they received but a cold welcome. I was one of the vile bodies 
upon which the experiment was tried, and that is how I lost my 
intimacy with Swinburne. 



Eton 77 

Dr. Hawtrey's influence with my father was immense, and for 
some two years I became a colleger. I can honestly say that during 
that time I never was inside any oppidan's room, nor do I remember 
ever having an oppidan to visit me, or any other colleger. During 
the last year and a half of my Eton days, when I was already in 
sixth form, I went back to be an oppidan, and Evans's house being 
full, was sent to Mrs. Voysey's, who was a new dame. In the mean- 
time Provost Hodgson had died in 1852, and was succeeded by Dr. 
Hawtrey, to my deep regret, for he was followed as Head Master 
by Dr. Goodford, and in a schoolroom over which that dull and 
drowsy man presided there was little joy. 

Once, I remember, he woke up from one of his naps (vigilant naps 
they were, for if one of us blundered he was wide-awake in a 
moment), and was minded to be grotesquely humorous. Someone 
was construing, I forget what, when all of a sudden he suggested as 
a translation, " Oh, dear ! what can the matter be ? " and asked 
whether any of us could quote the next line. One suggested a 
repetition of the same line ; another " Johnnie's so long at the fair." 
" Wrong ! Quite wrong," he said, " the second line is ' Dear ! 
Dear I What can the matter be ? ' ' Dismally he grinned at his 
own fun, which did not raise evcm a cycophantic smile, and then 
composed himself once more to " yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a 
little folding of the hands to sleep." And so the dreary pedagogic 
round droned on. What would I not give now to have had the 
privilege of passing that year and a half under the illmninating 
tuition of Dr. Hawtrey ! What a gift to be able to teach and in 
teaching please — practically to strike out from the dictionary ttn 
hateful word " lessons ! " 



CHAPTER IV 

SUMMER HOLIDAYS 

CRETA an CARBONE NOTANDI ? " The summer 
holidays of 185 1 shall be " noted " with the whitest of chalk. 
The first three or four days were spent in London exploring the 
treasures and wonders of the Fairy Palace which the imagination 
of the Prince Consort and the talent of Paxton called up in Hyde 
Park — of which Sydenham gives no conception. It was but a 
baby compared with the great exhibitions — labjnrinthine cities in 
themselves — by which it was followed — but it was so graceful, so 
delicate, so airy, that its translucent beauty remains graven on my 
memory as something which must defy all rivalry. When first I 
saw it glittering in the morning sun, I felt as if Aladdin and the 
Jin who was the slave of the lamp must have been at work upon it 
— no mere human hands and hammers and builders' tools could have 
wrought such a miracle. A single relic marks the site : one of the 
two great elms which were enclosed in it, now a feeble old truncated 
pollard, piously fenced in by the care of those who rule the Park, 
still stands in the great stretch of grass opposite the Knightsbridge 
Barracks ; its mate sickened and died. 

There were two exhibits which struck my boyish imagination : 
one the great crystal fountain in the centre of the building — the 
sun was shining gloriously, charming all the jewels of the world into 
the plashing water — it seemed to me a dream of beauty. The other 
was Koh-i-Nur, in the cutting of which the great Duke of Welling- 
ton took so much interest ; its fire has now been eclipsed by the 
mightier light of that wonder-stone, the Cullinane diamond, but the 
poetry of its story remains now, as it was then, one of the great 

78 



Summer Holidaj's 79 



traditions of the gorgeous East, reaching back into legendary times, 
when there were still Afnts to do the bidding of King Solomon. 
No stone newly found in the blue earth of Africa can dim the magic 
halo of Eastern romance, or blur the succession of pictures which 
the crystal-gazer should see in the mystic depths of the Mountain of 
Light — all the glamour of " the thousand pights and one." 

But it is idle to talk of this or of that exhibit, or even of many. 
There were things beautiful, and things hideous, for art at that 
moment had sunk very low ; but the general effect of beauty and 
airy grace, together with the delicate framework and brilliancy of 
the whole structure, was indelible — unlike its more modern successors 
its size was not so great as to prevent one from gaining a general 
impression of the whole, and that was a joyous, sensuous revelling 
in a palace of light. Even those whom I remember scoffing at the 
idea when it was first mooted were compelled to admit that it was a 
great conception nobly carried out ; it was a triumph of which the 
present Crystal Palace gives no conception. The transfer to Syden- 
ham and the increase in size seemed at once to vulgarize it. 

Great were the joys of the Exhibition ! but there were greater 
yet in store for me in the first sight of the richly fabled Rhineland, 
where, after a few happy days in London, I was to join my father. 
Those were times when the " Pilgrims of the Rhine " wandered 
through a realm of romance and poetry untouched by the vulgar 
hand of utilitarianism. The air that we breathed was as pure, 
as nipping, and as eager as that which many centuries ago floated 
round the Dragon's rock and the eyrie from which the brave 
Roland looked down upon the island convent — ^the prison of all 
that he held dearest upon earth. 

Now tall chimneys cut up the lovely views, belching out sul- 
phurous vapours upon the castles and fastnesses of the old Robber 
Knights. Factories and huge industries darken the blue of the 
sky. The siren song of the Lorelei is no longer heard from the 
rock where she used to sit " combing her golden locks with a golden 
comb," and luring the benighted fisheraian to his doom ; she 
has fled. Heaven knows whither, scared by the prose of a cruel 
century; the clang of the Nibelungen's hammer and anvil has 
ceased to beat in the dark caverns of the earth. Giants and 



8o Memories 



dwarfs have disappeared, and the Rheingold is now won by methods 
in which there is neither beauty nor romance, nor fairy lore. What 
was the Wacht am Rhein about, that it did not strike a blow to 
hinder the defiling of the sacred river ? It has been fierce enough 
against the Frenchman ; could it do nothing to stay the hand 
of the sacrilegious German money-spinner ? 

Last year (May, 1914) I took a novice to view the scenes which 
had cast a spell over my young enthusiasm. He was disappointed; 
and I could not wonder at it. No crucible of the imagination 
can weld together Manchester and the Sieben Gebirge. 

In 1851 life on the Rhine sped like a happy dream. My father 
made Coblenz our headquarters, and we made many delightful 
expeditions ; among others, a trip by steamer up to Bingen and 
thence across the river into the lovely Schweitzer Thai, which, 
lying as it does just out of the beaten track, is so seldom seen. 

It was no mere chance that made my father choose Coblenz 
for our temporary abode. Mrs. Bradshaw was living there with 
her son-in-law and daughter, and she had been a great friend of 
my father and mother. When I knew her, she was an old lady 
and quite blind, bearing her affliction with that gentle patience 
which is so usual with those who are thus punished. She still had 
the delicately cut features and charm of manner which had made 
her famous in her youth ; for she was no less a person than Miss 
Maria Tree, the singer and actress who took all London by storm 
when on the 8th of May, 1823, she " created," as the phrase now 
goes, " Home, Sweet Home," in the opera of Clari by Sir Henry 
Bishop. The words were by John Howard Payne, an American 
author, paraphrased from lines by T. Haynes Bayly, the author 
of " I'd be a Butterfly," a song now probably forgotten, but in 
my childhood almost as popular as " Home, Sweet Home," itself 
— especially in seminaries such as that of the Misses Pinkerton 
on Chiswick Mall. It is said that the motive of the air was tsiken 
from a Sicilian melody : be that as it may, it has been so long 
naturalized that it Uves as something purely English. It will 
always be associated with Patti, but Maria Tree, who first made 
it live, should not be forgotten. 

The libretto of Clari was based upon the old, old tragedy 



Summer Holidays 8i 



It was the story of a beautiful girl, who after some months of 
luxurious misery in a city, comes back to seek peace in her village 
home. I have often heard my father and Mr. Henry GrevUle 
say what a dream of fascination she was when with her wide- 
brimmed straw hat, slung by a ribbon to her arm — looking like a 
dainty picture by Morland — she came forward and in her sweet 
voice — a voice which in speaking retained its charm to the end — 
sadly warbled the pathetic song. The town was conquered and 
there was not a dry eye in the house. 

In circumstances so romantic that even at this distance of time 
it would be indiscreet to mention them, she won the heart of Mr. 
Bradshaw — the Jemmy Bradshaw of contemporary memoirs — 
one of the great dandies of the early days of the nineteenth century, 
a friend of the Prince Regent. It was a happy marriage, and 
there was one beautiful daughter, who became the wife of Captain 
Langley, an officer in the 2nd Life Guards. They were as hand 
some a couple as could be seen — and they were made very wel- 
come in the society of Coblenz. The sympathy of the sword and 
great personal charm were a passport to the friendship of the 
very smart garrison. 

I can see Mrs. Bradshaw coming into the room tapping her 
way with her stick. Gracious and kind she always was, and her 
poor dim eyes, that used to laugh so merrily, had not forgotten how 
to smile a welcome. Many happy hours I spent as a boy and 
afterwards as a young man in her house in the Schloss-Strasse. 

During the fifties, the old Emperor WilUam, his brother being 
still alive, was military governor or viceroy of Rhenan Prussia 
and Westphalia, and held his Court at Coblenz. Both he and his 
Princess, afterwards the Empress Augusta, were most graciously 
kind to foreigners. My father was a frequent guest at the Palace, 
and even I, though a mere boy, was more than once invited to 
the afternoon coffee parties. Naturally enough the Court was 
a centre for the best society of the town and neighbourhood — 
mostly military and official. 

The Prince was a handsome, soldier-like figure, bluff and hearty, 
royal to his fingers' tips, most gracious and friendly in the recep- 
tion of his guests. He was all his hfe the sworn foe of anarchism 

VOL. I 6 



82 Memories 



and socialism, and at one time was so clearly marked as a probable 
object of attack, that in March, 1848, he was compelled by his 
brother and the government to leave Germany for a while. He 
remained in London only until June, when he returned to Berlin 
as a niember of the National Assembly, and declared himself a 
conscientious supporter of the Constitutional Monarchy. He 
assumed his high office at Coblenz in 1849, shortly after the attempt 
upon his life by a ruffianly anarchist named Adam Schneider at 
Niederingelheim. 

The certainty that he must succeed his brother in the kingship, 
as well as his own commanding character made his Court very 
regal and very important. He was admirably seconded by his 
Princess, a daughter of the House of Saxe-Weimar. The Empress 
Augusta, to give her the title by which she is best known, was 
in 1851 a graceful, still very attractive lady, in spite of her forty 
years. She was a woman of refined accomplishments, a scientific 
musician, a great lover of art. She was very well read, especially 
in French literature, and kept a French reader, M. Guillard, 
attached to her household. She preferred Victor Hugo, Balzac, 
Lamartine, Alexandre Dumas and the English writers to the 
dull dogmatics of the German schoolmen of that day. Bismarck 
complained not a little of her foreign predilections, and 
considered that she was far too much inclined to belittle what 
was German in favour of exotic literature. 

The truth was that the two natures were not sympathetic : she; 
was highly strung and aesthetic — ^in him not even Paris and St. 
Petersburg (now Petrograd) had been able to polish the roughness 
of the diamond. When the fateful episode at Ems occurred, the 
plain-spoken statesman did not conceal his fear lest the King 
should come under the influence of the Queen, who was hard by 
at her beloved Coblehz. At any rate, she made the Princely Court 
gay and very agreeable, and Bismarck was able to console himself 
with the reflection that his policy — I am now speaking of nineteen 
years before the great war — ^had a strenuous supporter in the 
Prince's right-hand man, Count Karl Von der Goltz. 

Prince Frederick, the future hero of so many pitched battles, 
the father of the present Kaiser, was a tall, fair, handsome stripling. 



Summer Holidays '^^3 



beardless and very young looking, who a year or two later confided 
to my father that he was " alrtiost engaged " to our Princess 
Royal. His sister. Princess Louise, stUl alive as Grand Duchess 
of Baden, was a lovely maiden, such as Perrault might have 
imagined, or Madame d'Aulnoy portrayed. 

The ladies- and gentlemen-in-waiting were well qualified to 
turn what might have been a very dull Court into an intimate 
little coterie, enlivened by private theatricals in French, music, 
readings and other amusements ; it was very dignified in that there 
was nothing frivolous about it, but it was never stiff and never dull. 

The two ladies were Countess Haack — elderly, and if the truth 
must be told, rather plain — and Countess OrioUa, a beauty who 
preferred maiden meditation to matrimony, and would not be won. 

Count Karl Von der Goltz was, owing to his confidential position 
with the Prince, a real influence in Germany — an influence recog- 
nized by Bismarck himself, and of him I should like to say a few 
words. In his " Gedanken und Erinnerungen " the great man 
describes him as "an elegant and smart ofiicer of the Guards, 
a Prussian to the core (Stock-Preusse) , and courtier, who took 
no more heed of the rest of Germany outside of Prussia than his 
position about the Court involved. He was a man of the world, 
rode well to hounds, handsome, a favourite with women, a past 
master in courtly etiquette ; politics were not the first considera- 
tion with him, but were only a means to his ends at Court. No- 
body knew better than he did that the recollection of Olmiitz was 
the right incentive to win over the Prince and induce him to take 
a hand in the fight against Manteuffel, and he had plenty of oppor- 
tunities both when travelling and at home of making the best 
use of this spur to the feelings of the Prince." 

Count Von der Goltz's brother Robert was the first instigator 
of the Bethmann-HoUweg coalition against Manteuffel. He wsis 
a man of unusual talent and energy " with whose active capacity 
Manteuffel had the tactlessness to deal imprudently." (Bismarck 
ut supra.) 

To Bismarck, Olmiitz was the bitterest of thoughts. Two 
years after the Emperor Ferdinand had there abdicated in favour 
of his nephew, Francis Joseph, Prince Schwarzenberg, on behalf 

VOL. I 6* 



84 Memories 



of Austria, and Manteuffel, as plenipotentiary for Prussia, met 
there and came to the agreement known as the " Olmiitzer Punk- 
tation " — which at a moment when war seemed inevitable, settled 
the differences between the two Powers, but entirely in favour of 
Austria. 

It was the life's aim and ambition of Bismarck to undo Man- 
teuffel's work, and to assert Prussia as the leading Power among 
the Teuton peoples by uniting all the German States, to the ex- 
clusion of Austria, under her hegemony. In May, 1851, hei was 
appointed secretary to the Prussian representative at the Diet, 
and three months later was promoted to be himself representative. 

His first move against Austria was characteristic. It had been 
the custom at the social gatherings of the Diet for the Austrian 
delegate to give the signal for smoking. Bismarck took an early 
opportunity of lighting his own cigar first, politely offering a match 
. to Count Thun, his Austrian colleague. It was the bursting of a 
bombshell, and the incident, apparently so trivial, was electric. 
Everyone present knew what was meant. That match lit a flame 
which was only extinguished fifteen years later at Sadowa. 

The hatred of Manteuffel and his policy was the secret of Bis- 
marck's admiration for the brothers Von der Goltz ; for in the 
handsome courtier. Count Karl, he recognized an ally almost, if 
not quite, as powerful as the statesman and diplomatist Count 
Robert. It would be difficult to imagine two men more different 
than the polished guardsman and the rough, unkempt man-of- 
affairs, but they were both, to use Bismarck's own expression 
" Stock-Preussen." Olmiitz was to both a haunting memory, and, 
the wiping out of that stain a sacred duty which united the two. 

By the side of Count Von der Goltz the two other gentlemen- 
in-waiting were less conspicuous figures. He was always in the 
foreground, and remained the faithful friend and servant of his 
old master all through the glorious campaigns of 1866 and 1870, 
in both of which he earned great honour as a cavalry general, and 
having resigned his high military commands in 1888. remained 
attached as General aide-de-camp to the Emperor William until 
the old warrior's ^eath in the same year. He himself died thirteen 
yeais later at Nice, at the age of eighty-six. 



Summer Holidays 85 

His colleagues at the Court of Coblenz as I knew it were Major 
Schimmelmann, a handsome giant, who was very good to me, and 
another officer, Herr Von Steinacker, a rather melancholy man 
who worshipped the ground upon which Countess OrioUa's pretty 
foot trod ; it used to be said that he proposed to her once 
a month, and on being once a month refused, would take to his 
bed love-sick, disconsolate, emerging at the end of twenty-four 
hours to resume his duties. But his story belongs to the small- 
beer chronicles of the Court, whereas that of Count Von der Goltz, 
like that of the glorious Prince, King, Emperor, whom he loved 
and served, belongs to the old October ale of German politics and 
history, a heady brew if ever there was one. 

We paid several visits to Coblenz during my Eton days — and 
in 1857, when I was already twenty years old, I went back there 
with a reading-party from Oxford. We stayed there for some 
five or six weeks and then went on to that wicked Paradise, Baden 
Baden. It was in the old days of the gaming tables — needless to 
say, we, like the other moths, had our wings singed, and when we 
had little more than enough to pay for third-class tickets, fled, 
and landed in Paris with just about a hundred francs between us. 
I managed to get three rooms in some obscure back street in the 
Quartier Latin for thirty francs the week — we breakfasted in a 
cremene for a few sous — dined at the two-francs dinner in the 
Palais Royal — lived the vie de Boheme with the students and rapins, 
who gave a warm welcome to Oxford, and when replenishment 
of our purses came from England, left our church-mouse poverty 
and wild cheery life with the greatest regret. 

In the month of April, 1914, I was in Germany, with two days 
to spare. I had long been haunted by the wish once more to see 
Coblenz, the happy hunting-ground of sixty years ago. How 
could a veteran better wind up a holiday than by fulfilling that 
desire ? We put up at the old hotel, " Zum Riesen " — the Giant — 
a caravanserai that I knew well as long ago as my first visit in 
1851. Not that we ever lodged there, for my father preferred the 
" Bellevue," out of affection for old M. Hoche, the proprietor, 
who had been a famous cook in Paris. 
Those were the days when the table d'hote acted up to its name. 



86 Memories 



and the host in person sat at the head of the table as Lord of the 
Feast ; every now and then, as some special dish was being handed 
round, M. Hoche would get up from his seat and come to my 
father, saying, " Mangez de 9a, Monsieur, j'y ai mis la main " — 
and what a cunning hand it was ! and how cheap was the excellent 
dinner served at one o'clock — fifteen groschen (is. 6d.) if you 
came at haphazard, ten groschen if you were abonne — supper was 
d la carte. These were the prices of the best hotels on the Rhine, 
and they must have been just, for dear old M. Hoche and his wife 
waxed fat upon them, and having lived in great content, died 
leaving a fortune. The table d'hote at which the good old grey, 
snuffy generals and colonels and Herren Geheimrdte dined in state 
is a thing of the past. The old " Bellevue " has been pulled down 
and has been replaced by a gigantic new " Bellevue " — whose 
Pharaoh knew not Joseph — Coblenz has grown out of all recollec- 
tion, and prices have followed suit. 

Here and there I found some old parts of the town almost 
untouched, and the view from the bridge over the MoseUe is a 
relic of the past, with its church spires and old-fashioned, rickety 
houses, roofed with brown tiles, weather-stained like the grey 
walls and shutters, as picturesque as age and just a modicum of 
dirt and shabbiness can make them. Here the character of the 
old German town reveals itself, and when we take our stand in 
front of the Giant Hotel and look out upon the Rhine, the bridge 
of boats opening to make way for some passing timber-raft — 
itself its own cargo from the depths of the far-away Black Forest — 
when we look at the grim Ehrenbreitstein with its batteries frown- 
ing threats from its rocky heights — then we forget all modern im- 
provements and artistic misfortunes, and are once more in the old 
Rhineland. 

On the evening of our arrival, after dark the riverside weis gaily 
thronged with people drinking in the cool evening air after the heat 
of a day as hot as summer. The stream was brilliant with the 
reflection of electric lights, but across the water on the awe- 
striking fortress there was just one lamp to be seen peering out 
of the gloom of the black battlements like a watchful eye — a strange 
and weird effect, befitting the castle of an ogre— a silent BEWARE ! 



Summer Holidays 87 



THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON'S FUNERAL 

On the eighteenth of November, 1852, the great Duke of 
Wellington was buried. Of course many boys, myself among 
the number, had leave to go up to London to see the funeral 
procession. It had been a very rainy autumn and the Thames 
was swollen to an inordinate degree. Eton was flooded and we 
were taken up part of the High Street in punts. I believe that 
no such flood has been seen since, though the year 1894, when the 
boys were sent home on the seventeenth of November, fell not far 
short of it. 

I witnessed the funeral from the first floor of the Bath Hotel, 
which stood at the comer of Arlington Street and Piccadilly, at 
the north-eastern corner of the modern Ritz Hotel. I have since 
seen [many great ceremonies, many magnificent and moving 
spectacles in many lands, but none that could be named in the 
same day with the funeral of the Iron Duke. As a military display 
it was, of course, superb. All arms were represented, and a brave 
show they made ; uniforms were far more gorgeous in those days 
than they are now that the spirit of economy has cut off epaulettes 
and gold lace from officers, shabracks and other ornaments from 
their horses. The bands of the various regiments, the muffled 
roll of the kettle-drums, mysterious in the distance, heralding the 
dirge of the " Dead March in Saul," followed by the wailing of the 
bagpipes of the Highland regiments ; the solemnity of the reversed 
arms, the charger with empty boots — always a pathetic sight 
at a soldier's funeral — led behind the great bronze car, hung with 
wreaths of cypress and bay, drawn by twelve black horses, three 
abreast, housed with black velvet and a blaze of heraldry ; the 
deputations of splendidly clad foreign officers, following the car. 
All this appealed to the imagination of the huge crowd, often 
moving them to tears, for they knew full well that " a Prince and 
a great man was dead in Israel." Few there were, even among the 
poorest, who had not managed to don some slight sign of mourning, 
the slighter the more touching, for it meant the more : a scrap of 
crape, a bit of black cloth worn as an armlet were but the tokens 
of the real mourning which was in men's hearts. He was such a 



88 Memories 



familiar s'ght to Londoners, this wonderful old hero whom they 
used to watch riding along Constitution Hill to and from the Horse 
Guards — to and from duty — to the last a spare, lithe, active figure, 
smart as a young boy, dressed with scrupulous neatness, and even 
a tinge of dandyism, in a tight-fitting, single-breasted blue frock 
coat, with spotless white trousers. When he passed all men doffed 
their hats as if he had been a king, and the answering salute of the 
forefinger raised to the brim of his hat, never omitted, never varying, 
became almost historic. Often I saw him : he was a very old man, 
and the neck was a little bent, but the chiselled face was still 
commanding, and the fire had not ceased to glow in those eagle 
eyes, the finestra dell' anima — altogether an unforgettable figure. 

London loved him. Much water, as the saying goes, had flowed 
under the bridges since April, 1831, when the mob broke the windows 
of Apsley House, while the body of the Duchess, just dead, was 
lying there waiting burial. The iron shutters were the only signs 
left of the fleeting unpopularity of the Reform days. The life 
that was in the Duke, his activity, his unwearying interest and the 
share which he took in affairs and events great and small, from 
the quelling of the Chartist insurrection, only five years before 
his death, to the opening of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 
1851 and the cutting of the Koh-i-Nur, stirred the imagination 
and roused the admiration of all men, rich and poor. People 
used to tell how, when he and Lord John Russell were discussing 
the steps to be taken for the safety of London in 1848, and Lord 
John suggested one measure after another, the invariable answer 
from the grim old soldier was, " Done already." Nothing had 
escaped that wonderfiol eye. And so he became, as it were, a super- 
man, and when he died men looked around them and there was 
none found to fill the gap. 

As the great funeral car passed opposite the window where I 
was, one of the wreaths of cypress and bay leaves fell off. So soon 
as the last soldier closing the procession had disappeared, a poor 
old woman dashed forward and picked up the wreath. I ran down 
and tried to buy it of her, but she would not part with her precious 
relic. At last I persuaded her to sell me one cypress cone for a 
shilling. The cone was full of seed which I sent down to Exbury 



Summer Holidays ^9 



in Hampshire, at that time belonging to my father ; and there 
are now, in the wood near the house, a number of quite important 
cypress trees, the beautiful sixty-year-old children of that wreath. 
After the funeral, "The death of the Duke of Wellington" 
was set as the subject for a copy of Alcaics for fifth-form boys at 
Eton. It was an unfortunate subject, for it was sure to lead to 
some regrettable absurdity : that did not fail ; one boy began 
his copy of verses with the two lines : 

Ut dixit olim magnus Horatius, 
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. 

Apart from the bathos of the drivel, it was so inappropriate, seeing 
that the glorious old warrior fell asleep at Walmer full of years 
(eighty-three) and honour, on the fourteenth of September, 1852. 
His body was brought to London, and lay in state at Chelsea for 
a week before the funeral. 



CHAPTER V 

WALES AND OXFORD 

I LEFT Eton at Christmas, 1854, ^^ter nearly nine years' ex- 
perience of its good and its evil. The last half spent there 
was not a happy one, though I was high up (second, in fact) in 
sixth form, in the boats, a member of Pop, captain of my house, 
and invested therefore with dignities such as I coiild never hope 
to possess again. I had been for two years in Dr. Goodford's 
division, and during all that time I cannot call to mind ever having 
received from him a friendly word, a kindly look or a smile : and 
when I left and deposited his fee* with him, he said, " Well ! I 
hope you may do better elsewhere than you have done here. But I 
doubt it." Not very gracious or encouraging words with which 
to send a boy forth into the battle of life. And yet I cannot have 
been altogether so bad as he thought, for my leave-taking with my 
tutor, and with other masters who knew me better than Goodford 
did, was very different. 

But apart from such personal matters, the memory of that last 
half is a sad one. We were at the beginning of the Crimean War, 
and never shall I forget the black gloom of the day when the list 
of killed and wounded at the battle of the Alma was posted up 
at Pote Williams' bookshop. We older boys came out of the 
shop blinded with tears ill repressed for poor young fellows who 
had been in the same division with us a few months before, and 
others a year or two our seniors, who had been the demi-gods of 

• " Leaving money " has now been done away with. In my day a sixth 
I form boy on taking leave of the Head Master, Iciid on his desk an envelope 
containing ^^15. For other boys the fee was ;£io. It was an ignoble custom, 
rightly abolished. 

90 



Wales and Oxford 91 

our fourth-form days. Then came Inkerman — and hoWthe blood 
raced boUing through our veins when we read the soul-stirring 
story of Balaclava — outdoing Thermopylae. Just heaven ! Why 
were we not there ? Think of us boys, almost men, reading 
of the gallant deeds of Bob Lindsay, Gerald Goodlake, George 
Wombwell, and many others, men almost boys ! Then came the 
trenches, but of those hours the worst was yet to come. 

From Eton I went to Batsford, which I saw for the first time, 
little thinking of the future which it held for me ; and there I spent 
four happy weeks, being introduced to shooting and hunting, the 
latter under the tutelage of old Jem Hills, the famous hunts- 
man of the Heythrop, of which Lord Redesdale, though no longer 
master, was still the uncrowned king. 

At the end of the holidays I was to go to Mr. W. E. Jelf, near 
Barmouth, to be coached for a few months before going to Oxford. 
At that time the railway went no further than Shrewsbury, where 
I lodged at the sign of the " Raven," an old-fashioned country inn 
of great repute — such an inn as Charles Dickens would have loved, 
and as he alone could have described. As I sat at dinner I saw 
that there was one other guest in the coffee-room. While the 
waiter was out of the room this gentleman came up to me and said, 
" Sir, I beg your pardon for interrupting you, but you can render 
me a great service." I thought of Buckstone in " Lend me Five 
ShDIings," and instinctively froze, but I thawed again when he 
went on to say, " I am Professor Anderson, the Wizard of the North ; 
I am going to give an exhibition of conjuring to-night, and for two 
of my most telling tricks I need an accomplice. WiU you help 
me ? I need hardly say that you will have a free admission." 

I suppose that he thought that I was a " youth of an ingenuous 
countenance and ingenuous modesty," and should not arouse 
suspicion. I consented, and he entrusted me with a marked coin 
and some other trifle, giving me full instructions as to what I was 
to do. We adjourned after dinner ; the room was crowded and 
the Professor made a great success of his show. And so it came 
about that my first appearance in public was as " bonnet " to the 
Wizard of the North. I saw no more of my friend, for the next 
day I was coaching in Pickwickian fashion on the box seat through 



92 Memories 



Wales to Dolgelly, where my tutor's carriage met me and finally 
landed me at his pretty place, Caerdeon, where he had bought 
himself a small estate and built a charming house. 

The Rev. William Edward Jelf was a man of no little renown in 
the Oxford world. He had been senior Censor of Christ Church, a 
great disciplinarian both in college as tutor, and outside as proctor. 
He was a very sound scholar, and the translator of Raphael Kiihner's 
Greek Grammar, a monumental work. One of his greatest friends 
was Scott, the master of Balliol, to whom he was wont to assign 
quite the lion's share of the credit for the great dictionary — Liddell 
and Scott. As a Don, Jelf was anything but popular — he was too 
uncompromising, too " stiff in opinions." At the same time he was 
justice itself, and if you obeyed the law — ^his law — to the right or 
to the left of which there was no salvation, there was no limit to 
what he would do for you. I had been warned of his " stiffness," 
and made up my mind to observe discipline, with the result that we 
got on famously, and the months spent with him were, if rather 
lonely, on the whole happy and very profitable, for he certainly was 
a most inspiring teacher. 

All my work was done in my own room ; with Mr. Jelf I had but 
one hour a day, but then it was such an hour ! Sixty minutes not 
one of which was without its value. During the months that I 
spent with him, from the end of January to October, I read through 
the whole of Herodotus.the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Agamemnon 
of iEschylus, and, above all, as an exercise, the Medea of Euripides, 
looking out every reference in my master's great grammar. In 
Latin I read Pliny's delightful letters, was supposed to be sufficiently 
well up in Horace and Virgil, and was spared the arch-bore Cicero, 
in regard to whom I by no means shared the enthusiasm of Mrs. 
Blimber ; as a matter of archaeology I might sympathize with her 
as to the Tusculan villa, but its owner and his self-glorification I 
should have avoided. 

The curriculum was chosen as the best preparation for trying to 
gain the Slade Exhibition at Christ Church. When I had been a 
few days with Jelf and he had taken my measure, he made up his 
mind that he would make me carry that off, and of course no one 
knew better than he did what would be the most profitable training. 



Wales and Oxford 93 

I should like, if it be not deemed an impertinence, to say one word 
here upon the much-vexed question of a classical education, and of 
Greek in particular. It is very easy, very cheap, to say that Greek 
and Latin are of no use in learning modern languages. I have had 
some experience in the study of both, and I am distinctly of opinion 
that nothing has helped me so much in the acquisition of even the 
most out-of-the-way modem languages as the work which I did 
under Jelf, dissecting every sentence and every particle in the 
Medea with the help of his Greek grammar. 

No language has been so thoroughly analysed — perhaps because 
none has been so philosophically constructed — as Greek. The man 
who starts upon the study of modern languages, after having dis- 
sected, conscientiously and searchingly, the work of one of the 
Greek giants with the help of Jelf's great book, has insensibly 
converted his mind into a sort of comparative grammar, he has 
acquired the knowledge of points of difference and points of simi- 
larity, that is to say of comparison, of which Buffon said, " nous ne 
pouvons acquerir de connaissance que par la voie de la comparaison," 
and although the aid given to him is, of course, indirect, it is none 
the less real. He is in the position of a man who goes to a new 
gymnastic exercise with trained muscles, and therefore with mar- 
vellous ease, as compared with the man whose muscles and sinews 
are flabby and slack. That it is a discipline of the highest signifi- 
cance few will be found to deny. When Darwin spent seven years 
in dissecting barnacles it was not simply a knowledge of barnacle 
nature at which he was aiming ; he was training his mind for other 
purposes. Apart from the beauties which they reveal to us, and so 
without any reference to the important question of culture, I am 
in favour of the study of the classics, as a gymnastic exercise of the 
brain, as a dissection of barnacles which yields far higher results 
than could be gained by merely learning French and German with- 
out any other preparation. In that way a man would attain what 
must simply be a more or less glorified couriers' knowledge, practical 
no doubt, up to a certain degree, but unscientific and failing him at 
crucial points. 

The best Oriental scholars whom I have known have all been men 
who attacked their Eastern studies armed with the weapons 



94 Memories 



furnished by a classical education. In China Sir Harry Parkes was 
an admirable oral interpreter. But he, himself, as I have said else- 
where, always regretted his want of classical training — ^nor would it 
be possible to compare him with that great scholar Sir Thomas 
Wade. In Japan Von Siebold was as fluent a talker as could be 
found. He was the son of the famous physician and naturalist, 
who was attached to the Dutch Mission at Deshima, and had learnt 
Japanese " ambulando." But it would be childish to name him 
with such learned men as Satow, Aston and Chamberlain, men who 
brought the training and literature of the West to their studies in 
the East. It is not without significance to note the great respect 
which such men were able to command, whereas the mere parrot, 
however clever, was held in little more esteem than a head 
waiter. Think of Basil Chamberlain appointed to the Chair of 
ancient Japanese literature in the University of Tokio. 

And our own beautiful English, the language of Chaucer, Shake- 
speare, Milton : will that not suffer if a false utilitarianism should 
succeed in banishing the classics from our schools ? Even now it 
is surrounded by enemies, but I shudder to think of what it might 
become after two centuries of nothing but trans-oceanic influences 
unchecked by scholarship. 

It was a bitterly cold winter, long spoken of as the Crimean 
winter, which was ushered in by January, 1855. In Wales as else- 
where it was so cold that many birds and beasts were frozen to death, 
and one day in my tutor's garden I caught a live woodcock in my 
hand. The poor creature was at the last gasp, dying of starvation. 
For many scores of miles round there was no moist cranny into which 
it could insert its long beak for food. The earth was like iron. 
Death and misery everywhere in these islands, and it was terrible 
to get the news from the Crimea, where hundreds of our poor, 
starving, shivering soldiers were in little better plight than the 
wild creatures at home. How they suffered ! and how nobly patient 
they were ! 

During the dark months there was not much to be done beyond 
taking long, solitary walks in the midst of that glorious scenery ; 
Diphwys behind us, the Barmouth river and Cader Idris in aU|its 
majesty in front of us. Barmouth itself a little tiny fishing village. 



Wales and Oxford 95 

It would have been a dull time if Jelf had not clapped spurs into me 
and filled me with a new-born ambition, and a certain measure of 
that belief in myself without which there is no hope. And I did 
work ! When the spring came it brought with it an invitation to 
Jelf to act as examiner in the final schools at Oxford. He was very 
anxious to accept this, for he loved keeping up the connection with 
his old university, so he proposed to me that I should finish up the 
last two or three weeks with him at Christ Church, where his 
brother, the principal of King's College, who was a Canon, had lent 
him his house. My father raised no objection, and I, of course, was 
delighted, for I knew that among the undergraduates I should find 
many old friends. I am grateful for the memory of those days, 
for never again in after years did Oxford exercise upon me the same 
fascination that it possessed at that time ; I was very young, and 
very impressionable. Indeed in a way it seemed as if I then 
was under an influence which, when I came back some months 
later, had died away. 

At my first visit there was still an old-world atmosphere about 
the place, something which had preserved a sort of elusive aroma of 
the cloister and the monk. It was the Oxford of the great men who 
from days immemorial had made it famous ; in modem times of 
" that devout spirit," Pusey, Newman, and " the movement." It 
was instinct with the music of Keble. But to me at that particular 
moment it was the Oxford of Gaisford. The great Dean died a few 
weeks later, Liddell became Dean, and Oxford came under the 
gentle sceptre of a bevy of ladies, two of them very beautiful, very 
smart, and not a bit monachal. Moreover, it soon ceased to be a 
place of learning for English gentlemen of the reformed Christian 
faith. In 1855 the Parthian, the Mede, the Elamite, the dweller 
in Mesopotamia, had no place in the sacred cloisters. We were 
all called upon to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles (" forty, if 
you wish it, sir," was the pert answer of a famous wit), and as for 
the various fellowships and scholarships, they remained as they 
had been instituted by the pious founders. All Souls was a link 
between the university and the great world. The qualifications 
for a fellowship there were that the candidate should be " bene 
natus, bene vestitus et modice doctus in arte canendi." It was 



96 Memories 



irreverently said that those last three words had long since been 
omitted. The legend ran that before the election the candidates, 
duly qualified as founder's kin, were invited to dine in Hall : a 
cherry tart was served, and the supreme test upon which election 
depended was the way in which the aspirant disposed of the stones. 

In those happy days a fellowship of All Souls possessed the same 
quality which Lord Melbourne admired so much in the Order of 
the Garter, " There was no damned nonsense of merit about it." 
Now, alas ! all is changed. The fellows of colleges, even of All 
Souls, are married and meritorious. The Don's wife is the ruling 
power and his daughters are the nymphs of Isis, floating luxuriously 
in punts under the willows of the backwaters — pimts that the 
ruthless proctors of my day, suspiciously tolerant of sisters, would 
have employed mine-sweepers to disperse. Oxford has suffered 
a sea-change. All the tongues of the diaspora of Babel raise a 
cacophony in the groves of the Academeia. The Mohammedan 
in pious prayer turns his face to the Kibleh and curses the infidel. 
The Buddhist reverently seeks Nirvana in the contemplation of his 
own navel. The mild Hindoo profitably studies anarchy. The 
Negro becomes a Christian and takes holy orders that he may 
go back to his own coimtry, receive a revelation, and organize a 
massacre of whites by Divine command. Such are the uses to 
which the grand old universities of England and America are now 
put, and this is what is called reform. The Oxford of Gaisford, 
the Cambridge of Whewell are phantoms of the past ; what were 
once the strong places of Christianity are now held by the heathen, 
and England is no longer for the English — no — not even the House 
of Commons. 

Dean Gaisford was a great potentate : not only was his scholar- 
ship superb, but he was also a ruler of men. When he nodded, 
Olympus trembled. When he stood up at the altar in Christ 
Church and thundered out the first Commandment, with a long 
pause after the " I " and a strong insistence on the " Me," he would 
look round the cathedral sternly, as much as to say, ^' I should like 
to see the undergraduate, or the graduate either, for that matter, 
who will dare to dispute that proposition." His famous utterance 
in a sermon, " St. Paul says, and I partly agree with him," has 



Wales and Oxford. 97 



become a classic. But he was like the Nasmyth Hammer : he could 
crush a rock or flatten out a rose-leaf. Jelf had a good story of the 
way in which he once petrified a very young Don who at one of his 
dinners ate an apple in a way which he did not consider to be quite 
orthodox. 

Not unnaturally I felt no little trepidation when on presenting 
myself for the viva voce examination for the Slade Exhibition, I 
saw the dreaded Dean in the Chair. To my relief the lUad was the 
book chosen, and I was put on to construe. Then came a few ques- 
tions on Homeric matters, in which Jelf, during long months, had 
primed me well ; and as I left the room, great was my joy to hear 
the terrible Dean growl out, " That young man knows his Homer 
well." Never shall I forget the welcome which Jelf gave me when 
it was announced that I had won. Perhaps not a little both of his 
pleasure and mine consisted in thinking how annoyed Goodford 
would be, for Jelf always held that Goodford had been unfair 
to me. It was something of a schaden-freude. 

So I was matriculated by Dean Gaisford, went to Switzerland 
with my father for a month, and then back to Caerdeon for a final 
poHsh at the hands of Mr. Jelf before Oxford. 

When I entered Christ Church in the following October (1855) 
there were at any rate three memorable personages amongst the 
Dons. Dr. Pusey was a venerable figure — venerable not on account 
of his age, for he was but fifty-five, and had nearly thirty more years 
ahead of him, but as the hero of many fights, the victim of fierce 
persecutions, the man who, had he lived two or three centuries 
earlier, would have been burnt alive ; some of his opponents must 
have regretted the disabilities imposed by the nineteenth century, 
but he himself would have faced the stake with all the courage of 
an inspired xnaityr. As he shuffled along the great quadrangle, 
by no means a stately figure, looking older, far older, than his years, 
there would be few men, whatever their opinions might be as to the 
religious controversy of which he was the figurehead, who would 
not take off their caps out of respect for his goodness, his piety, his 
herojsm and his great learning. He was not only profoundly versed 
in all the subtleties of the old Fathers, but at Gottingen, whither the 
necessities of theological study had driven him, he plimged with 
VOL. I 7 



9^ Memories 



heart and soul into the dark depths of German priestcraft and anti- 
priestcraft, and into the mysteries of S5n:iac, Hebrew and Arabic 
scholarship. 

To me there was always a magic halo about the learning of the 
East, and so, although I never had speech of the great Divine, never 
even had the very real honour of being introduced to him, I looked 
upon him with no little awe as one removed far above the level of 
ordinary men. The other canons and professor^ were no doubt 
worthy men and learned — perhaps even an honour to their cloth ; 
but the famous professor of Hebrew was Somebody. I felt, as 
Napoleon said of Goethe, " there is a Man." 

The senior Censor of Christ Church was Osborne Gordon, a 
brilliant character whom to have known was indeed a privilege, 
and as I had the good fortune to be his pupil and he was very kind 
to me, he has remained one of the pleasantest memories of my 
university days. He was a finished scholar, very witty, with a great 
appreciation of character. He would say the drollest things with 
the most imperturbable gravity, being in his way a man of the 
world, in spite of the cramping tendencies of the Oxford common 
room. When Lord Lisburne took his son, my contemporary, to 
Christ Church, he consulted Mr. Gordon as to what allowance he 
should give him as a Tuft. " WeU, Lord Lisburne," answered the 
witty Don, cocking his trencher cap on one side as was his wont 
when he was going to say something very funny, " you can give your 
son any allowance you like, but please remember that his debts 
will always be in proportion to his allowance " — a most sagacious 
remark ! On another occasion, a certain young gentleman went to 
him and asked him whether he had any chance of passing his little-go. 
" Well ! you have one great advantage," was the answer. " You 
will go into the examination absolutely imhampered by facts." 

During the time that I was at Oxford, Charles Spurgeon was 
making a new sensation as a preacher. One Sunday Osborne 
Gordon and two or three Oxford Dons went up to London to hear 
him. The next evening my tutor came, as he often did, to smoke 
a pipe in my rooms. I asked him what had been the impression 
made by Spurgeon on him and his friends. They had been struck 
by Spurgeon's power, but had been greatly shocked when the 



Wales and Oxford 99 

preacher, after laying down a rule of life, went on to say : " If 
you do as I have told you to do, and if after that Jesus Christ should 
at your death refuse you admittance to heaven, you tell Him that 
Charles Spurgeon says He is a very shabby fellow ! " Surely, 
contempt of all convention and the familiar degradation of the most 
sacred Name could hardly go further. Throw propriety to the 
winds, and it is an easy matter to make a starthng speech or preach 
an arresting sermon. To Gordon's cultivated and fastidious mind 
such levity and vulgarizing of the sublime could only be repellent. 

Osborne Gordon was afterwards, in i860, appointed Vicar of East 
Hampstead, where he was as much beloved by Lord and Lady 
Downshire and his other parishioners as he had been at Oxford. 
Who that really knew him could help loving him ? He died in 
1883. Ruskin wrote his epitaph — ^rather a stilted Johnsonian 
attempt. 

The third great treasure, unsuspected by us, that we possessed at 
Christ Church, was our mathematical lecturer, Charles Lutwidge 
Dodgson. Who could have guessed that the dry little man from 
whom we learnt the sublime truth that things which are equal to 
one another are equal to themselves, was hatching in that fertile 
brain of his such a miracle of fancy and fun as " Alice's Adventures 
in Wonderland " ? The book came out whilst I was in the Far 
East, out of the way of all literary gossip, and I was stricken with 
amazement when I came home and the identity of Lewis Carrol was 
revealed to me. 

A good story was told about him which I have not seen in print. 
Queen Victoria, it seems, was so much struck by " Alice " that 
she commanded Sir Henry Ponsonby to write and compliment 
the author, adding that she would be pleased to receive any other 
book of his. He was greatly flattered and sent her his " Syllabus 
of Plane Algebraical Geometry." 

All the tutors were good and amiable men. But there was 
one in memory of whom I would fain burn my candle, though it 
be but a tallow-dip, and that was St. John Tyrwhitt, a most 
dear and charming man, a person of great culture, an artist in his 
leisure hours, the friend and disciple of Ruskin. He would often 
invite me to his rooms aaid talk with fervent admiration of his 
VOL. I 7* 



loo Memories. 



illustrious friend, infecting me with the first germs of enthusiasm 
for his works. Always kind, always sympathetic, ready at all 
times to give good advice, a trusty friend in need, without a half- 
penny's worth of donnishness about him, St. John Tyrwhitt, what- 
ever his scholarship may have been, as to which I know nothing, 
was a valuable asset in a flock of young men. Dean Liddell, who 
succeeded Dean Gaisford, was a singularly handsome man, and 
a great figurehead. But he was not popular. The undergraduates 
resented his treatment of them as schoolboys ; he could not quite 
shake off the schoolmaster attitude of his Westminster days, and 
this led to some deplorable follies, and worse than follies. Rebel- 
lion was rife, the lecture room was gutted, and the furniture 
destroyed ; a kettle of gunpowder with a fuse attached to it was 
hung upon the door of the deanery, but was fortunately discovered 
in time. A subscription was got up to pay for the damage that 
had been done, and the malefactors were rusticated. For the 
first year the condition of things was deplorable — after that they 
mended. But the Dean, in spite of his wife's judicious help, never 
in my time commanded the sjnnpathy of " the House." 

The drawing together of the threads of memories much more 
than half a century old is but dismal work. It is hke walking 
through a cemetery filled with tombstones all inscribed with 
names that in spite of time are still familiar, and some of them 
very dear. This has probably been said before — ^it is so evident. 
Of the Dons of 1855 not one remains. Bayne, who died a few 
years ago, was the last. Even of my own contemporaries few, 
only here and there one, are left. The bright curly heads, fair 
or dark, with whose owners we lived, and laughed, and hoped and 
quarrelled, have all been laid low, and if one remains above ground, 
it is as bald as a billiard ball, or perhaps nourishes a few stragghng 
lifeless hairs, white as old age can bleach them. Few became 
eminent : among them were Lord St. Aldwyn (Sir Michael Hicks- 
Beach), facile princeps — ^Alfred Thesiger, raised to be a Lord 
Justice of Appeal, but who did not live long to enjoy his fame 
— Roland Williams, also Lord Justice, himself the son of a judge 
(if I only knew how to apply " matre pulchra filia pulchrior " to a 
legal reputation !) one of the most delightful room-neighbours — 



Wales and Oxford. \ fW 

1 \44ii 

were men who made their mark in the world — outside of Christ Church 
were Swinburne, and, a httle older. Lord Justice Bowen, prince of 
lawyers and wits — Tom Brassey at University, and above all, 
John Morley at Exeter. The latter I did not know until a dozen 
or so years later, when he was already a power in Letters, a man 
for whom, differing with him as I always have done toto ccelo in 
politics, I entertain the greatest respect mingled with an affec- 
tionate gratitude for giving me my first encouragement as a writer 
in 1871. 

The rest of us were just mediocrities : tolerable specimens of 
healthy young EngUshmen ready to do our duty as landowners, 
soldiers, lawyers, clergymen, civil servants ; in general, fairly 
respectable, in some cases woeful scamps. On one point we were 
most of us agreed, at any rate in practice, and that was that it 
was expedient that we should go through the University doing 
as little work and spending as much money as possible. That 
was the way in which we interpreted our duty to our parents. 
And so I spent the first two years of my life at Oxford in forgetting 
with the utmost facility the small modicum of scholarship that 
with the utmost difficulty I had acquired under Jelf. A piteous 
and a shameful record. 

We had the usual number of Tufts — some of whom achieved 
notoriety in after life : Lord Coventry early made a name for 
himself as a great agriculturist and model landlord, a mighty 
hunter before the Lord, M.F.H. and Master of the Buckhounds, 
a most conscientious and hardworking Lord Lieutenant of his 
county, and I suppose one of the best living judges of horses and 
racing ; a man who has always been idolized by his friends. Then 
there was Skelmersdale, a really resplendent youth in all the first 
glory of a beard which was to become the joy of Courts and the 
title to an Earldom. He was as handsome as he was good and 
generous, the highest type of honest Anglo-Saxon beauty, after 
whom the Donnesses ran, worshipping, " en tout bien tout 
honneur," as if he had been in deed, and not in appearance only, 
the archangel Gabriel. 

Of the undergraduates at Christ Church who were a little older 
than me, none was more brilliant, socially, than John Arkwright 



102 Memories 



of Hampton Court, near Hereford ; he was so gay, so full of fun, 
and so " good all round," that he was always the central figure 
wherever he might be. The other day I was reading over again 
the copy of verses which he wrote as a "Vale" when he left 
Eton ; the satire, always good-natured, of the different masters 
of that day was really a masterpiece of wit. Of course, all the 
delicate humour of it would be unintelligible to the present 
generation — its value depended on knowing the now long-for- 
gotten shades that then were men — but as the work of a boy of 
seventeen or eighteen it was wonderful. 

One fifth of November, when there was a town and gown row, 
about forty of us went out from Christ Church to see the fun. 
Hardly had we all got into St. Aldate's Street when we met the 
senior Proctor, with Brown the marshal carrying the mace, the 
bull dogs and all the myrmidons of collegiate authority. Of 
course, he stopped us — " Your name and College, gentlemen ! " 
We were promptly sent back into Tom Gate, and as promptly 
marched across the quadrangle and were out again at Canterbury 
Gate, Arkwright and myself still leading. This time we got as 
far as the High Street unmolested, but no sooner had we turned 
the corner by Spiers' shop than we ran into the arms of another 
Proctor. " Your names, gentlemen ; go back to College at once ! " 
and forming up behind us with his lictors, the great guardian of 
morals drove us in front of him along the High Street and by St. 
Aldate's to Tom Gate. We had not gone many yards when we 
met Proctor No. i, who mercifuUy did not recognize us. " Your 
names and Colleges, gentlemen." " Thank you, sir," said John 
Arkwright with inimitable coolness, pointing to the police force 
behind, " We have our Escort ! " There was a great laugh from 
the crowd that had collected, and I expected consequences, but 
the Proctor must have been a good-natured fellow who saw the 
joke of the thing, for he took off his cap and disappeared, and 
we heard no more of the matter — but all chance of fun or a fight 
was over for that night, and this time we stayed within gates. 
John Arkwright, among other accomphshments, was a capital 
boxer — and we used to have great bouts at Maclaren's gymnasium 
and fencing-rooms 



Wales and Oxford 103 

Indeed there was quite a little fashion-wave of sparring which 
came over Oxford about the years 1856 and 1857, and so we got 
Aaron Jones to come down and give us lessons. He arrived the 
week after his second fight with Tom Sayers, and at that time, 
though by no means an ill-looking man, he was not a pretty sight. 
All shape, all humanity seemed to have been beaten out of his 
face ; he must have suffered horribly, but that he did not mind. 
His courage was extraordinary and he was an undeniably fine 
boxer ; but he had one great defect which was fatal to a first- 
class fighter in those days ; his hands used to swell and get puffy, 
and the striking value of his blows was largely discounted. Now 
that gloves are used in all fights he would have been a most for- 
midable adversary, for his power of inflicting punishment would 
have been as great as his endurance in taking it. He was a good 
specimen of his class, and he had a certain rough and ready wit 
. which made him very amusing. 

One day several of us had been sparring in my rooms, and we 
left off just when it was too late to go for a walk and a little too 
early to get ready for dinner ; so we walked across to Tom Gate 
and stood there smoking and watching the passers-by. As we 
were talking, there came along a very pretty girl, very smartly 
dressed, under full sail (and it was full sail in those crinoline days, 
of which John Leech was the recorder). Somebody said, " Oh ! 
look — what a pretty girl ! " " Ah ! " said Aaron, " I don't think 
much of her. Why just look at her feet ! She'd frighten a worm 
in a half-acre field into fits if he saw her coming in at the further 
end of it." 

Talking of boxing, it appears to me that the difference betwe^ir 
the fighting of the days of which I am writing and the fighting 
of to-day is more than a question of gloves or no gloves. The 
gloves may save a certain amount of disfigurement which was 
caused by the cutting of knuckles ; but as a guarantee against 
risk to life they are useless. On the other hand, the theory of 
the modern school of boxing points to far more real danger than 
was run by the prize-fighters of my day, such men as Ben Caunt, 
Bendigo, Nat Langham, Tom Sayers, Bob Travers and a host of 
other famous pugilists. 



I04 Memories. 



They continued the traditions of Tom Spring, Cribb, Jackson, 
Molyneux, the men of the Georgian days. Hitting was straight 
from the shoulder ; " hooks " were practically unknown, and 
the sickening body blows rare indeed ; the face was the target, 
and the infliction of black eyes and a bloody nose represented the 
pimishment which it was sought to inflict ; in the great fight 
between Tom Sayers and Heenan, of which I shall hope to write 
later on, I cannot call to mind the delivery of a single body blow, 
certainly there was not one that had any significance ; in teaching, 
the first-rate masters of the art, Nat Langham, Holies (the Spider), 
young Reed, used to make their pupils defend the body by the 
position in which the right arm was carried, but the attack was 
always directed at the head — ^mainly at the eyes. 

In the old straight fights, therefore, there was unquestionably 
much ugly mauling, but probably less danger than exists in these 
days of gloves, and hooks on the jaw, and deadly punches over 
the heart and vital organs. 

In the Christmas and Easter vacations, the haunts of " the 
Fancy," as they were called (a name more fitting to beautiful 
ladies than to prize-fighters), in the neighbourhood of St. Martin's 
Lane, were very attractive to a young undergraduate who felt 
himself big and proud when he was greeted by and had shaken 
hands with such celebrities as I have mentioned above. There, 
too, he would meet many of the well-known patrons of the ring — 
Napier Sturt, Billy and Folly Duff and others. Billy was a great 
character of whom many a queer story was told. Rat-killing, 
badger-drawing and other kindred sports brought him into con- 
tact with all the dog-dealers or dog-stealers, for I fancy that in 
London the two trades were often interchanged in those days ; 
perhaps they are still. 

A lady whom he knew lost a pet dog and was miserable, so 
she wrote and complained piteously to Billy Duff, who said he 
would try and get it back for her. Off he went to the house of 
a famous dog-dealer, and was told that he was not at home. Billy 
asked to see the wife — oh ! yes, the wife was at home, but she 
had had a baby a few days since and was in bed. BUly said that 
did not signify ; he would just go upstairs and see her for a 



Wales and Oxford. 105 

moment as he had something important to tell her. So up he 
went and found Mrs. L — , who on hearing the case, swore by all 
her gods that her husband knew nothing about it. Something 
in the good woman's too positive manner aroused Billy's sus- 
picion, so he took the baby out of its cradle and told her that he 
was going to carry it off and (he stammered badly), " as soon as 
his friend got her d-d-d-dog back he would return the b-b-b-aby." 
Downstairs he went with the baby, and in two hours the bereaved 
lady was shedding tears of joy over her dog. 

An escapade of BUly Duff's at Baden might have ended in a 
tragedy. It was in the old days of the gaming tables when the 
most heterogeneous polyglot crowd, not altogether composed of 
angels, used to be gathered together in that earthly paradise. 
Dining at the table d'hote, Billy found himself sitting next to a 
portentous personage wearing upon his thumb a huge red Cornelian 
ring graven with a coronet and a coat of arms of many quarter- 
ings. It was summer, and there were green peas, which the per- 
sonage proceeded to shovel into his mouth with his knife. This 
offended Billy, who, with sublime impertinence, desired him not 
to repeat the offence. The Baron or Count, or whatever he was, 
stared furiously and went on pea-shoveUing as before. " I have 
spoken to you once," stammered BiUy. " D-d-d-don't let me 
have to speak again." This, of course, only made the heraldic 
personage more angry. So BUly watched his opportunity and 
nudged his neighbour's elbow, nearly driving the knife through 
his cheek. Of course there was a hideous row and a duel the next 
day, when Billy broke his adversary's arm. " I did not want to 
hurt the poor d-d-d-devil much," said BiUy when he told the story. 
Long years afterwards I was talking to the head of his clan about 
him. To my amazement he had never even heard of him. Such 
is fame ! 

It would have been better for me if I had devoted a little less 
attention to the Fancy and their Corinthian friends, the Toms and 
Jerrys of the fifties, and had shown a little more respect for the 
purposes of the University. There was a moment when Modera- 
tions, then a modern innovation, came in sight, and I had to cram 
into something like six weeks work which would have been mastered 



io6 Memories 



easily enough with a very small amount of work spread over two 
years. Osborne Gordon was kindness itself — he took me in hand 
and made me read Pindar with him, thinking that if he could 
but cram that into me, it would cover a multitude of sins. 

The fatal day arrived. I did weU enough until I came to 
Demosthenes ; I had only read six orations out of eight, and as 
ill-luck would have it, two out of the three pieces set happened 
to be taken out of the unread speeches. Then came the viva voce 
— I was taken on in Pindar, and Osborne Gordon, who had come 
to listen, was delighted when at the end the examiners stood up 
and took off their caps, usually a sign that the victim who has 
been upon the rack has got a first-class. My dear tutor met me 
outside and said all sorts of pretty things. But when the lists 
came out there was I, a dismal second-class, beaten by two or 
three rivals whom I had floored over and over again in other 
examinations. When Osborne Gordon, furious, asked the reason 
why, the Examiners said that it was impossible to give a first 
to a young man who had evidently not read his books. Demos- 
thenes had done me ! How I cursed him and his pebble and the 
roaring sea-waves, and ./Eschines and the avSpse SiKacrrat* and all 
the rabble of them ! 

Not long afterwards I received a nomination for the Foreign 
Office and was delighted to say farewell to the University. I was 
disgusted with Oxford, when I ought to have been disgusted with 
myself. But it was better that I should go. Amidst the old 
surroundings it would have been difficult, perhaps impossible for 
me to break with the old habits, the old loafing, and for an under- 
graduate there is nothing so dangerous, nothing so demoralizing 
as loafing. In that respect 1 believe that the University can claim 
a change for the better. 

In my day, unless a youngster played cricket or rowed in the 
summer, unless he hunted or went out riding in the winter, there 
was little for him to do except dawdle about the High Street, or 
play billiards, or rackets, or tennis, and for these latter games there 
was but small provision. There was no hockey, and practically no 
football : I believe that there were a few young men who kicked 

* SvSpis StKaarai = jurymen 



Wales and Oxford 107 

about a ball in remote pastures, but the game was looked upon as a 
degradation and the players as eccentricities. There were no 
" blues " except for the eleven, and the eight. 

I quite sympathize with those who think that too much attention 
is now given to games ; still, when I go to Oxford and see the 
hundreds of lads flocking out, half naked, to football, hockey, running 
and jumping, I cannot help admitting that they are leading cleaner, 
wholesomer lives than we did, when we sauntered between Carfax 
and Magdalen Bridge, parading the last unpaid masterpiece of some 
London tailor. 

I am reminded of one of Gavarni's old caricatures. A poor, 
shabby student in the Quartier Latin is watching another trying on 
a very glorious new coat. " Combien 9a te coute-t-il un habit 
comme cela ? " " Je ne sais pas." " Dieu veuille, mon cher, 
que tu ne le saches jamais ! " Sooner or later the biU has to be 
paid, whether for loafing or for coats, and the bill for loafing is the 
heavier of the two. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE F. O. 

Je suis copiste, 
AfEreux metier! 
Joyeux ou triste, 
Tou jours copier ! 

NO one knew who was the unhappy clerk who, in a pessimistic 
mood, wrote those Dantesque lines with a diamond on a 
pane of glass in the old Foreign Office in Downing Street. If I 
had been in England when the old house was broken up, I should 
ihave tried to buy that window-pane, with its inscription — a note 
•of despair recalling the " Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' intrate." 

The old Foreign Office in Downing Street was a dingy building 
•enough, with a sort of crusted, charwomanly look about it, suggestive 
of anything but Secretaries of State, ambassadors, and such-like 
•sublimities. The Dii majores occupied tapestried* chambers facing 
the Park, but the great mass of the rooms in which the clerks 
worked looked out upon nothing but Downing Street on one side, 
and on the other a rookery so richly caked with soot and dirt that 
ihe very windows must long since have ceased to let in a ray of 
light — a nest of squalid slums that have long since been improved off 
the face of London. One house there was among those crazy old 
tenements occupied by some professional man in a small way of 
business, with two pretty daughters, maidens who from the security 
of their father's abode would make aU sorts of loving demonstra- 
tions to the young scribes opposite. Meet them outside, and their 
•«yes would be cast demurely upon the ground, chaste and virginal. 

* Those tapestries are now one of the chief ornaments of the British 
Embassy at Paris. 

io8 



The F. O. 109 

Half an hour later they would be at their old tricks, casting the most 
appealing glances across the shabby street. They were like the 
veiled beauties of Constantinople, who, knowing themselves to be 
quite safe, will do all they can to allure the passing foreigner. 

Poor Lionel Moore, one of our dragomans, who had lived in the 
Levant from childhood, used to tell such amusing stories about those 
elusive sirens. One day he was walking the streets of Pera when he 
saw a young Turkish lady riding upon a very smart mule, with an 
escort of three or four eunuchs, gloriously apparelled, evidently a 
lady of quality. As she passed Moore she partially put aside her 
yashmak and gave him a most bewitching glance — such a look as 
St. Anthony himself could not have resisted. He, always ready for 
an adventure, followed the temptress, though the sun was scorching.. 
When she had made a fool of him long enough, the lady called up 
her chief eunuch and said, " You see that infidel ? — ^go and fetch 
him a glass of water to cool him ; he must be hot." As Moore spoke 
Turkish like a native the arrow hit the mark, and he slunk away, 
discomfited, down a side street. 

Naturally it was with no little trepidation and a rather fluttering 
heart that on a bright morning in the month of February, 1858, I 
for the first time set foot inside the gloomy portals of the sacrosanct 
F. O. But my alarm was soon relieved, for in the hall were two 
gorgeous young clerks, sartorially superb, both acquaintances of 
mine, who gave me the kindliest of welcomes, and saved me from 
the ordeal of making myself known to good old Weller, the porter. 
The real moment of terror came when a few minutes later, having 
sent in my name, I was ushered into the room of Mr. Hammond, 
the Under-Secretary of State. But even in that Holy of HoUes — 
the temple of the Norns that governed the destinies of nations — fear 
was dispelled by the great kindness of the High Priest. 

Mr. Hammond was, I suppose, at that time a man of between 
fifty and sixty years of age — an imposing figure, big and burly, 
with rather a quick, jerky, incisive manner, which was apt to make 
men shy until they got to know him well, when the goodness and 
sweetness of his nature seldom failed to inspire affection. He was 
one of the best public servants that I ever came across. He was an 
indefatigable worker, and indeed his chief fault was that he took too 



I lo Memories 



much upon his own shoulders ; at the same time he was more than 
generous in meting out praise to others. 

There are not many men left who served under him ; the few that 
are yet alive must, like myself, have been pained by the way in 
which he has been alluded to in certain recent biographical works. 
Private letters, which were meant only for the eyes of those to whom 
they were addressed, and were certainly never intended to be 
published, should be carefully edited before they are put into print, 
otherwise words set down purely in jest, and inspired by the humour 
of the moment, wear a serious look which is all the more mischievous 
■when the writer is a great personage. Again, Mr. Hammond has 
been blamed because of his famous declaration to Lord Granville 
as to the peaceful outlook in June, 1870. Was he to blame for this 
false view of the state of Europe ? His opinion was based upon the 
despatches and — what is still more important — upon the private 
and confidential letters received from Her Majesty's Ambassadors 
at Paris and Berlin, and from those who in similar positions were 
watching the course of affairs in other capitals. 

It was the various chancelleries, and not Lord Hammond, which 
were responsible for his statement ; and the wrong forecast only 
shows that the blow fell suddenly and unsuspectedly, with the swift- 
ness of a meteorite. Until the " editing " of the famous Ems 
telegram, to which I shall allude elsewhere, took place, Bismarck 
himself did not know how soon the gates of the temple of Janus 
were to be thrown open. The secret was well kept because it did 
not exist. War was the birth of a moment. There had been no 
hidden warlike preparations either in France or in Germany ; 
indeed, so little was this the case that Bismarck tells us that it was 
not until he had consulted Moltke as to the relative states of the 
French and German armies, and which of the two would be likely 
to gain an advantage from an immediate declaration of war, that he 
lighted the torch. (" Gedanken und Erinnerungen," Vol. II., 
99-113.) So much for the ungenerous blame which has been cast 
upon Mr. Hammond for his want of political foresight — an alto- 
gether unjust accusation, founded upon ignorance of the condition 
of affairs at the time. 

Mr. Hammond was the Foreign Office; he kept all the strings 



The F. O. Ill 

in his own hands. Probably such a method would be impossible in 
these days ; but at the time of which I am writing his colossal 
industry and retentive memory enabled him to direct, single-handed, 
the whole current work of the department. He was indispensable. 
Of course those matters in which the policy of the Cabinet were at 
stake were dealt with then, as now, by the Secretary of State. But 
it is no small tribute to the value set upon Mr. Hammond's work by 
successive Foreign Ministers that no change of Government affected 
his position or lowered his authority. 

Mr. Hammond kept me with him for a few minutes, warning me 
that my work at first would be very dull, and then he sent me off, 
saying, " Remember that there are no secrets here ; everybody is 
trusted, and you will find that nothing is hidden from you. But you 
must hold your tongue." I cannot remember any violation of that 
rule until many years afterwards, when I had left the diplomatic 
service, and when a new system had been introduced — as I think, 
very unwisely ; but I do remember once, when some twenty years 
later there had been a scandal in the chancellerie of an embassy of 
another country, that one of the greatest European financiers said 
to me : " Well, there is one thing of which England may be proud : 
the English Foreign Office is the only one at which we have never 
been able to buy information." 

That says something for the old system of nomination, though I 
quite admit that there ought to be a stif&sh examination of the 
nominees of the Secretary of State ; but subject to that condition, 
I think that Lord Clarendon was quite right when he told a Com 
mittee of the House of Commons that he would rather resign the 
seals of the Foreign Office than surrender the right of nomination 
to a vacant clerkship. 

I was told off for the Slave Trade or African department — the only 
one in which there was a vacancy, and there I remained for the first 
two years of my service. The presiding genius was one Dolly Oom, 
a great character. I do not suppose that he was more than fifty 
years of age, but he looked as old as a grasshopper. He was a great 
authority on dinners, and used to give very choice little parties 
in a tiny house in Duchess Street. In matters theatrical, especially 
in all that related to pantomimes, he was an expert, and he was a 



112 Memories. 



faithful member of the Old Stagers at Canterbury — not as an actor,, 
but as the official apologist, and all sorts of excuses used to be. 
invented for bringing him on to the stage in that capacity, when, he 
being a favourite of many years' standing, his appearance, his fault- 
less attire, his courtly bow, which it was whispered was a piece of 
royal heredity from Hanover, were received with thunderous 
applause. His bosom friend and the hero of his adoration was 
Charles Mathews the actor. 

Work in any shape he detested ; if we took him a despatch he 
would look at it with a sigh, and say, "Put it on the monceau 
immonde." What he dubbed the monceau immonde was a pile of 
papers "to be dealt with," carried backwards and forwards daily 
between the press and the middle table, which used to grow and 
grow until Wylde, the second in command, could stand it no longer, 
and would set to work to clear it all off, whUe Dolly Oom, sipping 
weak soda-water and brandy and uttering incapable sighs, would look 
on and shake his head with a look of outraged dyspepsia. There was 
one point upon which dear old Dolly Oom would stand no nonsense. 
All words ending in ic must have a final k — ^publick, eccentrick, 
etc. Soft and gentle as cotton-wool in all other inatters, in this he 
was as hard and inexorable as the rock of Gibraltar ! Upon that k. 
depended the validity of treaties, the whole authority of the 
Secretary of State. 

Wylde was a splendid worker and knew the African business well. 
If his minutes of between fifty and sixty years ago had been acted 
upon, much trouble and many tragedies would have been avoided. 
He was convinced of the part that South Africa must at some future 
time play on the world's chessboard. Unfortunately the value of 
his opinion was largely discounted by the fact that he had not the. 
gift of writing ; moreover, in those days none but European politics 
were thought worthy of the brains of statesmen. 

Even American affairs, until the war broke out between Nortk 
and South, aroused little interest, and as for Africa, there was only 
one man who took any heed of it, and his was a cry in the wilderness.. 

There was none to hear, and poor Wylde's minutes were buried 
without hope of resurrection in the catnpo safUo of the Record 
Office. 



The F. O. "3 

It was rather a blow for young Oxford, full of the zeal deprecated 
by Talleyrand, and eager to distinguish itself in the most secret 
negotiations, to be set down to copy charter-parties and cargo-lists 
of the filthy ships that were engaged in the Slave Trade, and which 
sailed from New York bound for St. Thomas — ^nominally the 
St. Thomas of the West Indies, but in reality for that ill-omened 
island off the Guinea Coast where the " cargo of ebony " was to be 
picked up. If only the poor slaves could have been consulted, how 
they would have prayed against the measures that were taken for 
their protection ! A slave was a chattel worth money, and would 
repay care and good food on the voyage. But with Her Majesty's 
cruisers always on the alert, the poor wretches were battened down 
under hatches in conditions so appalling that the accounts of their 
sufferings were absolutely sickening. Only the fittest and strongest 
could by any possibility survive. How many were thrown over- 
board for the benefit of the sharks no man could tell. 

We were furnished by Mr. Archibald, our Consul at New York, 
with the most accurate information as to all the men and ships 
engaged in the traffic ; we knew them all, and we kept a sort of 
album and register, which I started, from which we sent out slips 
to the Admiralty to be forwarded to the West Coast of Africa. 
We got at last to find the sort of interest in our work that the 
detectives of Scotland Yard have in theirs, and to feel a certain 
professional pride in every conviction. It was interesting years 
afterwards to hear from my old friend Billy Hewitt, when he was 
commanding the Basilisk in the China seas, of the prize money 
which those slips had been the means of putting into his pocket 
when he skippered a small vessel in the West African squadron. 

There was always plenty of work, though our hours were very 
late. We did not begin until twelve, or even after that, but then 
we did not strike the balance as Charles Lamb did, by going away 
early. We were often copying for the mails till after seven o'clock, 
and in stress of political weather we had to wait tiU almost any 
hour. But the free mornings were a great boon — I always had time 
for a drawing lesson at South Kensington, or an hour's fencing and 
gymnastics at Harrison's in Panton Street, where there was a daily 
gathering of the same men — amongst them Lord Stanley, then 

VOL. I 8 



114 Memories 

Colonial Minister, a very regtilar attendant. He would come in 
laden with a sheaf of blue books and despatches, speak to no one, 
and between his exercises bury himself in political work. He 
would leave as he came, silent and self-contained, carrying his 
papers under his arm. He was immensely strong, but clumsy ; 
he could have felled an ox, but he would not have done it gracefully. 
When the late Lord Redesdale was staying at Knowsley, shortly 
after Lord Derby had published his Iliad, he said to his host : 
" What does Stanley think of your Homer ? " "He knows 
nothing about it," answered Lord Derby, laughing, " he's never 
read it. You see it isn't a Blue Book ! " Probably no statesman 
of Lord Stanley's value has ever been so little tmderstood ; pre- 
sumably it was his own choice, for certainly he did not wear his 
heart upon his sleeve, nor could anyone accuse him of affability, 
or of overmuch S3mipathy with his kind. Perhaps Lord Sander- 
son, who was not only his private secretary, but his intimate and 
trusted friend to boot, is the only man who could throw some 
light upon that strange character. 

Lord Newton in his Ufe of Lord Lyons has one or two ironically 
biting remarks about him : " This prosaic nobleman who is credited 
with having himself refused the throne of Greece." " It must 
have been a congenial task for a man of Lord Stanley's tempera- 
ment to throw cold water upon the vague and slipshod proposals 
of the unlucky Emperor " (of the French) ; while " Lord Stanley's 
comment upon the Empress' frank and sensible conversation with 
Lord Lyons, upon the Roman question, urging that England 
should take a hand in it, was that it furnished the best reason he 
had received yet for keeping out of the affair altogether. The 
Emperor's reason for proposing a conference was that he disliked 
bearing the responsibility which he had assumed. Why should 
he be asked to bear it for him ? " 

Lord Stanley, afterwards Lord Derby, was certainly a remark- 
able man ; his speeches were dull and prosaic, but they were fvill 
of wise common sense and they carried just weight. It always 
seemed to me that he showed in his public life those same 
qualities which he used to bring into Harrison's gymnasium — the 
strength of a bull and the determination of a gladiator, without 



The F. O. 115 

one spark of enthusiasm, without one care or thought beyond 
doing to the best of his great power what lay to his hand. A 
well-balanced, well-informed study of Lord Stanley would be a 
human document of great interest. 

At the end of two years I was moved out of the Slave Trade 
into the French department, which, of course, was the most impor- 
tant and hardest-worked of the many divisions, for the Paris 
Embassy was looked upon as a sort of branch Foreign Office ; 
there could be no diplomatic subject in which France was not 
interested equally with England, whether in agreement or in 
rivalry. So every despatch of any slightest importance— not to 
speak of many which had none — was marked to be copied for 
Paris. I used to wonder whether Lord Cowley, insatiable worker 
as he was, could find time to read all that we so painfully copied. 

Such questions as those of the Danish duchies and the Danubian 
principalities (still alive under the title of " the Balkans ") were 
the favourite pabulum of all the Ministers at the small German 
courts, worthy men whose capacity for spoiling paper was in exact 
proportion to the greatness of their unimportance. I remember 
at Stuttgart an industrious creature who had all the spinning 
powers of a hen-spider. 

There were no typewriters in those days ; it was all honest, 
strenuous copying from mid-day sometimes till night. Still much 
of the work was of absorbing interest, and the labour was lightened 
by delightful companionship. Staveley was the head of the depart- 
ment, a right good fellow, and a fine skater of the days when the 
members of the Skating Club used to disport themselves in the 
Regent's Park, or on the Serpentine, in tail coats and top hats; 
Croker Pennell, a great character, was second ; Scott GifEord, a dear 
memory (great friend of Goldsmid and Jenny Lind, whom I heard 
sing at his house) ; Henry Eliot, the late Lord St. Germans, Bobsy 
Meade — both of them most justly popular. Later my old friend, 
W. A. Cockerell, happily still alive. It would have been difficult 
to find a more S57mpathetic crew. 

Among the other colleagues we had John Bidwell, clever, 
agreeable, and much loved by all who knew him well ; Johnnie 
Woodford, a handsome tenorino, an intimate friend, like myself, 
VOL. I 8* 



ii6 Memories. 



of Mario and Grisi, and much behind the scenes of Covent Garden ; 
Beauty Stephens a strange compound of wit and muddleheaded- 
ness, with a wonderful gift of hitting off a character in a couple of 
words ; Anderson, rather solid and solemn, very popular on the 
steps of the Rag, to which it always seemed as if he ought to have 
belonged — indeed that wicked Stephens said of him that he 
" would have been a heavy dragoon, only there was no regiment 
heavy enough for him ; " cranky httle Cavendish, whose memoirs 
have been published, and to whom, when he came back to work 
after a short illness, and complained that he was not quite himself 
yet, John Bidwell said rather cruelly : " Well, Dish ! don't you 
think that might perhaps be an improvement ! " 

There were a score or more of others, now alas ! gone, all of 
whom have left pleasant memories behind them. Of course in 
so large a zoological collection there were some who did not belong 
to the Phoenix tribe ; we had our apes and we had our bears ; but 
in looking back upon those happy old days I claim the privilege 
of the sun-dial, and among the hours record only the serene. 

Several of those who were in the Foreign Office at the same 
time with me reached great distinction. Lord Vivian became 
Ambassador at Rome, Philip Currie, so long private secretary 
to the great Lord Salisbury, and one of the staunchest of my 
friends, was raised to the peerage, having been Ambassador suc- 
cessively at Constantinople and Rome. Lord Sanderson, after 
being for a long time Under-Secretary of State, was also raised 
to the peerage. Sir Francis Bertie, some years junior to me, ought 
to be leaving the Embassy at Paris, after a most brilliant career, 
under the age hmit, but such a man cannot be spared at a critical 
moment, and so he is staying on with the due reward of a 
peerage. Robert Meade went to the Colonial Office, earned the 
highest distinction under many chiefs, including Mr. Joseph 
Chamberlain, who knew the value of a good man. Drummond 
Wolf also went to the Colonial Office as private secretary to Lord 
Lytton in 1858 ; then was sent as Colonial Secretary to the 
Ionian Islands, and when they were given up {proh pudor !) 
was offered his choice between a C.B. and a K.C.M.G. Not 
without an eye to its financial value he chose the latter ; but 



The F. O. 117 

he was afterwards promoted into far higher regions, as G.C.B., 
Minister to Persia, where it is said his rather risky stories dehghted 
the Shah, and finally as Ambassador to Spain. AU these and 
others whom I have not mentioned have played their part in the 
world, contributing their quota to its advancement. And after all, 
that is what makes life worth the living — ^that is what distinguishes 
man from a possible ancestral jelly-fish. 

i860. — ^Those were days of freedom, when men might sit up and 
feast and amuse themselves as late as they pleased. Grand- 
motherly legislation had not yet set its canon by which, when the 
clock strikes the curfew the lights in all hostelries must be ex- 
tinguished, the grandchildren must fly from bar and refreshment 
room, and be sent virtuously, even if supperless, to bed. 

On the night of the i6th-i7th of April, i860, the inns and public 
houses in London remained open all night ; some twelve thousand 
persons did not go to bed at cdl, for on the morning of the 17th 
the great fight for the championship of the world was to take 
place — somewhere — between Tom Sayers and Heenan, the great 
American fighter known as the Benicia Boy. The whereabouts 
was kept so dark that it was not until the last moment that we 
who had taken tickets were even allowed to know from what 
station we were to go. The whole affair was shrouded in mystery. 
The two principals were being closely watched by the police, and 
Tom Sayers only made good his escape from Newmarket in a horse- 
box in the disguise of a stableman in charge of one of the horses 
belonging to Sam Rogers, the trainer. As for us, we had to hang 
about Ben Caunt and Nat Langham's public-houses waiting, 
untH we received our sailing orders and rushed off to London 
Bridge, the start having been fixed for four in the morning. 

No fight had ever created so much excitement ; it was the first 
contest of an international character, so that the fever was as 
high in the New World as in the Old. In the hurrying crowd 
there were great numbers of Americans, while peers, members 
of Parliament and men of high degree jostled the bullet-headed, 
broken-nosed members of the prize ring, pickpockets, bookmakers, 
publicans and sinners. The Sunday papers went so far as to say 
— but that was absolutely untrue — ^that such big-wigs as Lord 



II 8 Memories 



Palmerston and a sporting Bishop were present. So great was 
the interest that even the Times devoted three of its sacrosanct 
columns to a masterly description of the battle. I believe it was 
the first time that such an honour was conferred upon the prize 
ring, and it is said that the secret of the authorship is now 
unknown even to the Times chief. 

My companion that night was Henry Coke, Lord Leicester's 
brother, who has himself chronicled the event in his clever book 
" Moss from a Rolling Stone." 

The train stopped near Farnborough. It was an ideal spring 
dawn, as sweet and fresh as the perfume of the pinewoods could 
make it, and the birds were singing as if they would burst their 
throats. It seemed a shame and a desecration to use such a 
morning as we were about to do ; but we were too much excited, 
too eager, stirred by the cruel lust of fighting, to take heed of that. 
The ropes and stakes were soon set up and there was an immense 
amoimt of pushing and scrambling for places near Tom Sayers' 
corner, so we had to stand among the Americans near Heenan. 
That, however, was a good place to see from, for Heenan, having 
won the toss, naturally chose the comer in which he would have 
the sun at his back, and those opposite to us had the disadvantage, 
like Tom himself, of having the sun in their eyes. 

When Sayers first threw his cap into the ring, he was dressed 
in a most appalling suit of dark green tartan. His taste in dress 
was eilways grotesque, for during his last years, when he had retired 
from the ring, he must needs wear hessian boots with tassels, 
gartered with the inscription " Tom Sayers, Champion " round the 
knee. But when he stripped he was the picture of an athlete. 
He was a short, good-humoured looking man, with a tremendous 
development of the neck and shoulders, which gave the driving 
power to his blows ; his dark skin, brown and tanned, looking as 
though he had been carved out of old oak, shone in the morning 
sun. There was no question about it : he was trained to perfec- 
tion ; the muscles in the back especially were so sharply defined 
that they might have been mapped round with a pencil. Heenan, 
on the contrary, seemed to me — and many good judges shared my 
opinion — to have been trained a little too fine, and perhaps rather 



The F. O. 119 

too rapidly ; the skin upon his face seemed loose, and that would 
account for the way in which it swelled and puffed up under the 
terrible punishment of Tom's iron knuckles. 

But one thing struck everybody present : how was Tom Sayers, 
superb fighter as he was, to stand up against that giant ? Yet he 
did, and what is more, in my opinion if ever a man won a fight he 
did. There was a foul claimed in the hurly-burly confusion at the 
end, but upon that I do not rely. I go by the condition to which his 
dauntless courage and generalship ended by reducing his enemy. 

A great deal was said about the number of times that Sayers 
was knocked down. What happened was this. Quite early in 
the fight Sayers had drawn first blood from Heenan, when there 
arose such a shout of triumph as had hardly been heard since the 
myrmidons cheered at the death of Hector. Heenan then scored 
by twice knocking Tom down. Those were fair knock-down 
blows, and great was the exultation of the American party. 
Shortly afterwards in guarding a tremendous blow with his right 
arm, Tom received an injury which rendered it useless. It was 
said that the small bone was broken, but that was afterwards 
denied. In any case, he was evidently in cruel pain, and the limb 
began to swell up and was practically paralysed. This was all 
the more hard upon him, as in fighting he was wont to rely so 
greatly on his right — his " Doctor " as he used to call it, because 
" it would finish off his man." Most men would have given in 
at once. Not so Tom Sayers. He had lost his best weapon, and 
he was suffering torture ; the great giant was towering in front of 
him, threatening and terrible ; but never for one moment did Tom 
flinch or falter ; his gallant soul forced him to hold on, and having 
only one arm, he must now fight with his brains. 

From that time forth, whenever Heenan delivered one of his 
slashing blows, there was no guardian right with which to parry 
it, so Tom caught it as a man catches a cricket ball, yielding to it, 
and thus went down with the blow, smiling and unhurt. It was 
the only way — I watched it over and over again, and when at each 
knock-down the Americans wildly shouted victory for Heenan, 
I felt that they were counting unhatched chickens. AU of a sudden 
there was a crash which rang almost like metal over the field. Tom 



120 Memories. 



Sayers, ducking before a deadly blow from his assailant, had dashed 
in with his left and cut open Heenan's cheek with an ugly gash 
which presently swelled and almost closed one eye at o/ice. The 
American, big man as he was, staggered under it. From that 
moment I felt that, given fair play, the battle was won, and that, 
as I can affirm from what I heard around me, was the fear in the 
American corner. 

Round after round Tom came up, with dogged determination 
written in his unscarred face, relying upon the same tactics, attack- 
ing first one eye and then the other until Heenan was rapidly 
getting blind. Then came a dastardly act. The American, having 
got Sayers' head in chancery under his left arm, twisted his right 
round the rope of the ring and with the purchase so gained tried 
to strangle Tom, who struck out at him gamely, but was unable 
to break loose. He was getting black in the face when the 
umpires cut the rope. It was a mean and a cruel trick and was 
practically the last act of a fight in which Sayers had all the 
honours. 

The end was at hand. For some time past a blue cloud of 
policemen had been hovering in the distance without attempting 
to interfere. Heenan's backers saw their chance, the ring was 
broken into by the Americans, the police, seeing that matters were 
taking a nasty turn, rushed in, and the ring became a seething 
mass of surging, pushing, scrambling men, the principals trying 
in vain to continue a fight in the midst of what was now a mere 
angry, howling mob. 

As for Heenan, so blind was he that he struck his own second, 
and it was also said that he hit Sayers when the latter was sitting 
on his second's knee. A foul was claimed, but it was not possible 
for the referee to act in such a tumult, or, indeed, to see. There 
was a general stampede for the train. 

Heenan could no longer see and had to be led by two men. 
There was a Uttle quick-set hedge over which Tom Sayers flew as 
gaily as a bird. Heenan was in some fashion pushed or dragged 
through it, a helpless " man-mountain," so mauled that he was 
scarcely human. Barring his disabled arm, Tom seemed none the 
worse ; his face hardly showed a scratch. There can be no 



The F. O. 121 

reasonable doubt that if Heenan's friends, seeing his plight, had 
not forced their way inside the ropes and broken up the ring, five 
more minutes must inevitably have given Tom Sayers a glorious 
victory. As it was, the mere fact that he, one-armed and inferior 
in height, weight and reach to an adversary who looked fit to crush 
him, should only have lost his chance owing to a dirty trick, was 
simply marvellous. It was an exhibition of bulldog courage which 
in its way wUl probably never be beaten. 

One thing should in justice be recorded. Heenan's backers 
behaved badly, but they were a very low class, and I am bound 
to say that I did not see a single American gentleman among them. 
The men whom I knew afterwards in New York would have beens 
as disgusted as I was. 

It was a great event. Heenan was certainly a magnificent 
specimen of humanity and a great athlete. In build and figure 
he reminded me of the statue of the dying gladiator. He stood 
six feet one and a half inches, while Tom Sayers only measured 
five feet eight and a half inches. But Tom was a wonder. There 
have been greater boxers — Jem Mace to wit ; but as a fighter 
he was incomparable. Apart from his courage, his tact and 
judgment were phenomenal — not once did he let an opportunity 
slip. Relying upon these qualities, his great soxil never hesitated 
when there was a question of pitting himself against such giants, 
as the Tipton Slasher, Aaron Jones and others. He was ready to 
face any odds. Nat Langham was the only man who ever beat, 
him. The fight with Heenan, which lasted two hours and six 
minutes, was his last appearance in the ring. 

When we think of the sums earned by Carpentier, Jack Johnson 
and the glove fighters of to-day, it seems almost incredible that 
fifty-five years ago a fight for the international championship 
should have taken place for no more than £200 a side, and that the- 
subscription got up for Sayers should have amounted only to a 
sum of ;^3,ooo, settled upon him with remainder to his children^ 
on condition that he should never fight again. 

Heenan fought once more in England, with Tom King, who 
beat him. Curiously enough, on this occasion Sayers was his old. 
adversary's second. Tom King was a splendidly handsome man„ 



122 Memories 



I saw him make his first appearance in London at a benefit at the 
Canterbury Hall, a tall slip of a lad, six feet two inches, looking 
like a young Apollo. He had been a sailor and his long arms were 
phenomenally developed by hauling at the ropes, in days when there 
-were still ropes. He was matched, with the gloves of course, 
against a huge negro. The two smote at one another, rushing 
round the ring with as little science as schoolboys ; it was a mere 
" rough and tumble." Harrison, the famous fencing master, 
-who was standing by me, turned round to me and said, " That 
youngster, properly trained and taught, ought to make a cham- 
pion." It was a sound prophecy, for Tom King worked hard, made 
.himself into a famous fighter, defeated Jem Mace, the prince of 
boxers, and finally won his battle with Heenan for £2,000. Prices 
were beginning to go up. Neither man ever fought again. Tom 
King, who was a steady, clever fellow, became a bookmaker and 
.gathered together a comfortable fortune. 

Heenan was the husband of the beautiful poetess, Ada Isaac 
Menken, whose talent Swinburne admired so much, and who dedi- 
•cated her poems to Charles Dickens. When she was on the stage her 
wonderful beauty created a furore in Mazeppa. I took a special in- 
terest in Heenan because he was a pupil of Aaron Jones, to whom I 
have alluded in my account of Oxford days, and who went out to 
America in 1858. In the words of the Chinese sage, we were Tung 
yen (" same ink "), that is to say, we had dipped' our pens in the 
«ame ink, which, being further interpreted, means that we were pupils 
of the same master. So much can a Confucius say in two syllables. 

Let me go back a year. In the autumn of 1859 came the volim- 
teer movement — a clarion cry in answer to the memorial of the 
French colonels who were spurring on their Emperor to make 
war upon this country. All England was bristling with martial 
.ardovir. The Duke of Westminster, then Lord Grosvenor, started 
the Queen's Westminsters ; Lord Elcho the London Scottish ; Lord 
Ranelagh, the "Brompton Garibaldi "* as he was called, the South 

* Lord Ranelagh's long hair and beard gave him a certain look of Gari- 
'baldi. He was one of the best of good fellows, and had been a gallant soldier 
in Spain, though in the opposite camp to Wylde. He did much to make the 
'volunteer movement popular. 



The F- O. 123 

Middlesex. Most of us clerks joined the movement. Wylde, who 
had seen service in Spain with Sir de Lacy Evans, became second 
in command to Lord Ranelagh, and, when his colonel died, 
succeeded him; I was one of the early recruits of the Queen's 
Westminsters. We had great fim, but it needed no little courage 
to appear in uniform, for the grey tunics were irresistible as 
matter for chaff by the many-headed. 

The Foreign Office had always been active in volunteering, for 
when the Queen reviewed the Volunteers in Hyde Park in i860, 
one of the privates in the Queen's Westminsters was old Mr. Byng — 
" Poodle " Bjoig — about whose identity Sir Herbert Maxwell 
has got into such a muddle in his " Life of Lord Clarendon." He 
had been a clerk in the Foreign Office and had been a private in 
the Volunteers when they were reviewed by King George the Third. 
He was called " Poodle " on account of his crisp, curly hair — made 
a mesalliance — and continued to be a pet in Society as a bachelor 
tmtil his death. 

I remember how, in one of the extravaganzas by Planche brought 
out by Charles Mathews and Madame Vestris at the Lyceum, 
a huge poodle was brought upon the stage. There was a large 
gathering of well known people in the audience, and Poodle Bjmg 
was in a box with some great ladies. When the great curly dog 
came to the front there was loud applause, and the stalls turned 
their glasses upon Mr. Byng, who stood up in his box and bowed 
his acknowledgments of the compliment. Sir Herbert Maxwell 
confounds him with Mr. B3mg, a Privy Councillor, another well- 
known man of political importance, whereas the Poodle could not 
lay claim to being anything — unless, indeed, it was something to 
have been reviewed by George the Third and half a century later 
by Queen Victoria. 

A clerk in the Foreign Office at that time carried with him a 
passport to all that was best in political, diplomatic, literary and 
artistic society. The best clubs, from the Travellers' downwards, 
opened their doors to him, unless there was something personally 
objectionable in him. And if the Devil found no idle hands among 
us for mischief during the daytime, our evenings were bright and 
well filled, for even during the dullest months there was always 



124 Memories. 



something to be done ; not that by my allusion to Dr. Watts I 
wish it to be inferred that that something was always mischievous 
— ^indeed, I think we were fairly good boys, as boys go, with not 
much more than just so much of wickedness in us as suffices to 
give a spice to life. 

Week-ends were at that time unknown. Saturdays and Sundays 
were the great days for dinners, and anybody who had attempted 
to decoy a youth into the country for a Saturday-to-Monday 
party would have been looked upon as kind, perhaps, but a lunatic 
certainly. Lady Palmerston's Saturday night parties at Cambridge 
House, now the Naval and MiHtary Club, were gatherings at which 
everybody that was distinguished above his fellows in any branch 
of life was to be seen. Lady Palmerston, gracious, and still showing 
great traces of beauty, presided over a tea-table in a little inner 
room to which special favourites were admitted. Lord Palmerston, 
gay, smiling and full of geniality — ^still " Cupid " not only to his 
contemporaries but also to the youngest and most attractive of 
the matrons, for to the end he retained a great eye for beauty — 
had a kind word for everybody, young and old. It was not only 
the Megatherium that was made welcome. 

Once I got into disgrace. It was in 1862. Lady Palmerston 
gave a baU, and I was told off to lead the cotillon. There had been 
some late nights in the House of Commons, and Lord Palmerston 
was looking fagged and worn though he was smiling as ever — at 
three in the morning I thought the hostess would be glad if the 
ball came to an end and she, who must also have been very tired, 
for she always sat up for him, might go to bed, so I stopped the 
cotiUon, expecting great praise ; but Lady Palmerston, on the 
contrary, was furious, and for three whole weeks I received no 
Saturday invitation ; but when the fourth Saturday came round 
I was forgiven, taken into favour again, and bidden to listen to 
the friendly song of the tea-kettle in the inner sanctum. 

The guests at those parties would have furnished the sitters 
for a whole National Portrait Gallery. The great Lord Shaftesbury, 
his gigantic stature towering above all others, the solemn gravity 
of his rather melancholy countenance relieved by its goodness 
and loving kindness. His wife, Lady Palmerston's eldest daughter. 



The F. O. 125 

still beautiful in spite of her handsome family of grown-up sons 
and daughters ; her sister, Lady Jocelyn, irresistibly fascinating ; 
Lord John Russell's diminutive figure, with pinched, eager features, 
reminding one of Holbein's portrait of Erasmus, the divine begging- 
letter writer ; Lord Clarendon, simny and handsome, as radiant 
and eager as if he had not all his hfe been a martyr to gout and 
the affairs of State — both poison ; Delane, the Jupiter of the Times, 
burly and genial, compeller of men ; Borthwick, of the Morning 
Post, who achieved the feat of writing for the Owl a letter signed 
by the French Emperor of such apparent authenticity that the 
Emperor actually contradicted it. Laurence Oliphant, a mystic 
in lavender kid gloves, full of spiritualism, strange creeds, and skits 
upon Society ; Macaulay, a whirlwind of talk and knowledge ; 
Lord Sherbrooke, that wonderful Albino blinking out of his pink, 
almost blind eyes, delighting everybody with his conversation 
and himself with the belief that his chief joy was in the contempla- 
tion of beautiful scenery which, alas ! he never saw. The Duke of 
Newcastle, red and bearded ; Mr. Gladstone ; Disraeli — for the 
drawing-room at Cambridge House was a neutral territory, on 
which foes might meet in pseudo amity. Quin, the great homoeo- 
path, dealing in allopathic doses only where wit and fun and good, 
kindly humour were concerned. Bernal Osborne, always brilliant ; 
Alfred Montgomery, one of the very few remaining bright satellites 
of the firmament in which Lady Blessington and D'Orsay shone as 
the chief stars ; Charles VUliers, a host in himself ; Charles Greville, 
the writer of the famous memoirs ; and how many others ! 

But why go on making a sort of Morning Post list of the famous 
men of those days ! Of some of them I shall speak later. What a 
dream of Fair Women ! The Duchess of Manchester — ^like tht 
lovely Gunning, twice a Duchess — ^then in the heyday of her beauti- 
ful youth ; Lady Constance Grosvenor, with the majesty of a Juno 
and the smile of a Hebe ; Mrs. Dick Bulkeley, who looked as if she 
had sat for Millais' " Cinderella " and had come straight out of 
fairy-land ; Lady Mary Craven, the very type of lovely English 
womanhood bursting from bud into bloom ; Baroness Alphonse de 
Rothschild, with liquid almond-shaped eyes, and the sweet 
complexion of a tea-rose, and how many more ! 



126 Memories 



How well I remember another beauty walking up that staircase ; 
Greuze's Cruche Cassee in person, a frightened child of seventeen, 
with great, wondering eyes new to the world which one day she was 
to command ! Among the elder women notable were the three 
glorious Sheridan sisters, Mrs. Norton, to look upon whom was a 
joy, to talk with her an education. Lady DufiEerin, who seemed to 
be an incarnation of one of her own poems : 

" Oh ! Bay of Dublin, my heart your troublin'. 
Your beauty haunts me like a fever dream," 

and the Duchess of Somerset, the lovely Queen of the Eglinton 
Tournament, whose witty sayings ran round the town like a 
veritable feu foUet. 

Of course the very pick of the diplomatic body was represented. 
Count Apponyi, the Austrian ambassador, a grand representative 
of the proud Hungarian noblesse — his wife, a Russian by birth, great 
amongst great ladies ; the Persignys, he the close and well-beloved 
friend of Louis Napoleon, and his wife — a delightful madcap — a 
grand-daughter of Marshal Ney — the hrave des braves — ^were the 
most popular of the Ambassadors. D'Azeglio, tall, handsome and 
rather pompous, the intimate friend of the Shaftesburys, was 
always a marked figure. Count Nicholas Pahlen, brother of the 
hero of the conspiracy against the Emperor Paul in 1801 — a man 
of great stature, though bowed by age, pale, stony-eyed and rather 
grim-looking, with a most surprising knowledge of the family 
histories of all Europe, must be famous for having, though a 
foreigner, by his influence forbidden smoking in the morning-room 
of the St. James's Club for something like a quarter of a century — 
indeed, so long as he lived. 

Another great character was old Count Sztreletzki — a great 
traveller, diner-out and raconteur. He had a capital story which 
he used to tell, interlarded, as all his talk was, with little jerky 
" H'm ! H'm's ! " given in what the Chinese call the " rising tone," 
about the Due de MalakoJff who preceded the Due de Persigny's 
second appointment as French Ambassador. 

The grumpy, coarse old warrior had been invited to Strathfield- 
saye in September for partridge shooting. In a field bordering a 



The F. O. 127 

wood a number of cock pheasants were strutting about in all the 
confidence of a close month. This was too much for the Marshal, 
who was immediately seized with an uncontrollable desire to slay 
one. The Duke of Wellington consulted Smith the keeper, wha 
opined that " We might put it down in the book as a partridge." 
So the Marshal stalked an old cock on the ground, blazed and missed 
him — ^fired a second time and wounded the bird, who tried to run 
away, but the ambassador rushed after him, caught him and dashed 
his brains out against a tree, crying out, " Enfin, brigand ! je te 
tiens ! " " That," said the Duke to Smith, as they were watching 
the achievement, " is the great Field-Marshal Duke of Malakoff, 
who smoked out four hundred Arabs in a cavern in Algeria." 
" Well, your grace," answered the keeper contemptuously, " a man> 
who would treat a cock-pheasant like that, and in September too, 
there is no saying what he might not do to a Arab." 

As I write, the ghosts of bygone days rise up before me. The 
ghosts of men who were wise and great and noble ; the ghosts of 
women who fulfilled their mission in life by being supremely beau- 
tiful, gracious, and attractive. That was the secret of their power 
— of their influence ; invested with those regalia they ruled their 
world. 

Of literary or artistic society at Lady Palmerston's Saturdays, 
there were scarcely any representatives ; indeed, Dicky Doyle, 
and Monckton Milnes, afterwards Lord Houghton, were almost 
alone. Lord Lytton was there, but rather like Macaulay, because he 
was a statesman, than on account of his success in Letters. And 
yet there were great men at that time — Carlyle, Thackeray, and 
Dickens, Tennyson and Browning, were the kings of book-land, but 
they had to be sought elsewhere. Little Holland House, where the 
Prinseps and Watts ruled the roast, was a better covert to draw 
for the priests of Apollo and the Muses than Cambridge 
House. 

Another lady whose salon in Carlton Gardens was famous, was 
Frances, Lady Waldegrave. Her theatricals and her gatherings 
attracted the best of London. She was a capital actress, and 
always managed to collect a good company in support of her own 
talent. Her brother, Mr. Braham, was stage manager. I was the 



128 Memories. 



jeune premier. At Strawberry Hill she gave delightful, almost 
historic dinners, which often ended in being moonlit garden parties, 
where the guests would wander in a midsummer night's dream, 
xmtil the first glimmer of dawn reminded them that they were some 
miles from home and that even fairies must be flitting back from the 
poetry of flirtation under the stars to the prose of dayUght. 

There can be few matters in which custom, or fashion, has veered 
rpund more completely than it has done in the matter of tobacco 
•during my life-time. The Foreign Office was when I entered it the 
only public department in which smoking was allowed. That was 
a legacy from Lord Clarendon, who, an inveterate smoker himself, 
was far too kindly to inflict upon his subordinates what would have 
been a cruel privation to himself, so we smoked at our work, but the 
other departments, and the public in general, looked rather askance 
upon us for the privilege, for smoking was considered to be the 
outward and visible sign of idleness and incompetence. Smoking 
in the streets or in the Park was a thing not to be dreamt of. To 
carry a cigar in Pall Mall or St. James's Street would have caused a 
man to be classed as " an unredeemed cad." 

Bulwer's " My Novel " is not much read now, I fancy, and more's 
the pity, for it gives a rare picture of what it calls in its sub-title the 
" varieties in English life " during the early fifties. It was published 
in 1852. Harley L'Estrange, coming back from abroad, goes for a 
stroll with his dog in Hyde Park in the evening. He throws himself 
upon a bench under a tree. " ' Half-past eight,' said he, looking at 
his watch, ' one may smoke one's cigar without shocking the world. 
• It is the most barefaced lie in the world, my Nero,' said he, 
addressing his dog, ' this boasted liberty of man ! Now here am I, 
a freeborn Enghshman, a citizen of the world, caring — I often say 
to myself — caring not a jot for Kaiser or mob ; and yet I no more dare 
smoke this cigar in the Park at half-past six, when all the world is 
abroad, than I dare pick my Lord Chancellor's pocket, or hit the 
Archbishop of Canterbury a thump on the nose.' " So much for 
smoking in London. In country houses we were badly off indeed. 
When the ladies left the drawing-room, the men who wished to 
smoke were sent down to the kitchen or the servants' hall, to fight 
the rival perfumes of beer, tepid beef, cheese and onions. 



The F. O. 129 

The banishment of cigars from the stateher rooms once led to 
my turning a chance acquaintance into something Uke a friendship. 
Sir WiUiam Middleton, a grand gentleman of the old school, gave a 
party at his beautiful place, Shrubland, in Suffolk, in honour of 
the Duke and Duchess d'Aumale. , The gardens were exquisitely 
beautiful, the house comfort itself, the cook an artist of high repute, 
but there was no smoking-room. The Duke was a confirmed 
smoker, and, strange to say, I alone in all that large party was able 
to keep him company. We were sent off — ^not to the kitchen, for 
in his case that would never have done — but to some remote 
turret, whence it was hoped that no noxious fumes might penetrate 
the rest of the house, and there we sat and smoked till the small 
hours. 

The Duke was the best of company, telling stories of his old 
campaigns against Abd el Kader in Algeria and humming snatches 
of the songs with which the piou-pious were wont to enliven the 
night round the camp-fire. He had all the verve and dash of the 
French soldier, combined with vast stores of learning and a fund 
of ready wit. How the French army loved him ! How they de- 
lighted in his esprit Gaulois ! How they revelled in the story of 
his marching through Burgundy, and coming to a vineclad slope, 
asking what vineyard it was. " The Clos de Vougeot " was the 
answer. Out rang the word of command : " Halt ! Front ! 
Present arms ! " Had the Due d'Aumale been the eldest son of 
Louis Philippe, it might have made a difference in the history of 
France. 

Sir William Middleton was a great character, famous for his 
gardens, in days when gardening was less the fashion than it is now, 
and for his wigs, innocent frauds which deceived no one, except, 
perhaps, himself. He had a wig for every day of the month gradu- 
ated in length. On the 31st of the month he went into Ipswich 
wearing the longest wig and came out again wearing the shortest — 
he had been to have his hair cut. One night there was a great 
dinner at Sir Anthony de Rothschild's " to have the honour of 
meeting " a royal personage. It was a man's dinner, and Sir 
William Middleton was sitting next to Mr. Bernal Osborne, who was 
as bald as a bilhard-ball. In handing round some dish one of the 
VOL. I 9 



130 Memories 



gorgeously-liveried footmen caught Sir William's wig in his aiguil- 
lette or a button : off came the wig. The unhappy footman lost 
his wits, and seeing two bald heads, crammed down the wig on the 
wrong one. B. O., as he was affectionately called, was delighted 
and roared with laughter. To Sir William it was a tragedy. 



CHAPTER VII 
1861 

LORD LYONS 

'"T^OWARDS the end of November, 1861, there was a moment 
1 when it seemed as if a war between England and the United 
States was inevitable. By the prudence and tact of one man that 
dire calamity was averted. It may be doubted whether any 
diplomatist ever rendered greater service to his country than Lord 
Lyons did at that time. The part which he had to play would have 
been delicate in any circumstances, but in his case the difficulties 
were accentuated by the fact that on one side of the Atlantic he was 
instructed by Lord John Russell, a minister who seemed to delight 
in giving offence, while on the other side he had to deal with Mr. 
Seward, a Secretary of State who was never conciliatory and who 
introduced into diplomatic argument something of the bullying 
manner of a nisi frius lawyer. 

Lord Lyons was blessed with a gift of inexhaustible patience 
and perfect temper, which throughout the negotiations on the 
famous " Trent " affair won for him the gratitude of all Englishmen 
and the respect of his formidable adversary. Personally I had the 
greatest admiration for Lord Lyons, and welcomed the story of his 
life so admirably told by Lord Newton. In private life Lord Lyons 
was charming. His quiet and subtle humour gave a zest to his 
conversation : " MTien shall you be taking a holiday and coming 
over to England ? " I asked him once at Paris. " I'm sure I don't 
know," he answered, in his dry way, with a little familiar twinkle in 
his eye, " but I've told Salisbury that I really can't wait for the 
settlement of the Oriental question." At the age of ninety-eight 
VOL. I 131 9* 



132 Memories 



he would have been still waiting to-day ! His old-fashioned courtesy 
had a charm which was quite characteristic ; Lord Chesterfield 
himself could not have been more of a grand seigneur. 

When Lord Newton's life came out, I, full of respect for one of our 
great chiefs in the diplomatic service, wrote a notice of the book for 
the Candid Review. My excuse for reproducing it here is that it 
recounts some of the most memorable events which took place 
during my diplomatic days — it also incidentally alludes to some of 
the chiefs whom I knew well. Could I do better in honour of Lord 
Lyons, I would. 

The old diplomacy is as dead as Queen Anne, but imlike Queen 
Anne, without any hope of resurrection. Like many other old 
institutions, it h£is been killed by the nineteenth century and its 
inventions. The position of an Ambassador is still one of great 
dignity, and he can help largely to keep up the prestige and authority 
of the nation which he represents. He is consulted, and, if the 
Government are wise, listened to, but in the determination of policy 
his initiative has been strangled. He is so far as that is concerned 
little more than a clerk at one end of a telegraph-wire, whose duty 
it is to carry out the instructions of Downing Street with as much 
exercise of power of conciliation as may be. 

It is hardly possible to conceive a situation so sudden, so unfore- 
seen, that it would not be the duty of the Ambassador to abstain 
from any move without having first consulted the Secretary of 
State and the Home Government. Whether this is altogether an 
advantage is open to grave doubt. In the warp and woof of com- 
plicated and delicate negotiations, there are often intricacies and 
slight shades of which it is difficult, if not impossible, to com- 
municate the full importance in writing, still more by telegraphy, but 
which the " man on the spot," if he be worth his salt, can turn to 
account. In the interchange of views between negotiators, " c'est 
le ton qui fait la musique," and it is precisely the fine subtleties 
of the gamut the reality of which it is so difficult to convey by 
correspondence. 

It not seldom happens that the man at the other end of the wire, 
though he may be thoroughly acquainted with the brutal facts 



Lord Lyons i33 

under discussion, may, for lack of knowledge of the temper of a 
minister and of the peculiar pressure which at a given moment is 
being brought to bear upon him by the internal politics of the 
country which he represents, be inclined to some move which the 
astute agent, wary and watchful, would easily avoid, by smoothing 
difficulties and counterchecking dangerous arguments. 

It is difficult in these days to realize the initiative power exercised 
Ly some of the older diplomatists. A Russianized Pozzo di Borgo 
forces on an alliance between Austria and the country which employs 
him for the annihilation of a brother Corsican. A Stratford de 
Redcliffe, in the execution of a policy of which his own government 
hardly conceals its hatred, plunges five great nations in war. Such 
masterful agents as these are unthinkable to-day. Not much more 
astonished would the world be by the dispatches of ministers ac- 
credited to the long since defunct small German and Italian Grand 
Ducal Courts — proud records of august handshakes prolonged 
beyond those accorded to rival plenipotentiaries, chronicles of 
snarlings and bickerings over some vital question of precedence at 
a; Court supper or dinner. 

These were subjects upon which the lesser men expatiated in 
deadly earnest, deeply penetrated with a sense of their importance 
— and yet they were not altogether without their value, for we 
owe them some measure of grateful respect, since the judicious 
handling of such twaddle occasionally brought to light the talents 
of a man fitted for the nice conduct of real affairs. Indeed it 
was such a case that first gave the Foreign Office an inkling of 
the worth of a man who in the story of later years was destined to 
play a dominant part, the importance of which not even his ex- 
cessive modesty and self-effacement could keep altogether in 
the background. 

There is little need to call Dr. Johnson into court to prove that 
" nobody can write the life of a man, but those who have eat (sic) 
and drunk and lived in social intercourse with him." Lord Lyons 
has been lucky in having such a biographer as Lord Newton, who 
not only had daily social intercourse with him, " eating and drink- 
ing with him " for some years, but being moreover a man of his 
own profession and his intimate subordinate, though at the time 



134 Memories 



when they were together only a brilliant youngster, had something 
more than the ordinary opportunities of estimating his chief's 
public worth. Lord Newton is, as the House of Lords well knows, 
a master of subtle humour and delicate irony ; he writes excellent 
English — terse, bright and to the point ; and with these qualifi- 
cations it is no wonder that he has produced a book, which, seeing 
the momentously important events in which Lord Lyons took a 
leading part, must be largely consulted in all attempts to write 
the history of the latter half of the nineteenth century. 

I use the words " leading part " advisedly ; for Lord Lyons was 
essentially a leader, guide, and instructor, upon whose wisdom 
those who had the ultimate decision of affairs were able to lean 
with confidence. For the relation of intricate negotiations. Lord 
Newton has been happily documented with material that is en- 
tirely new and unpublished. The word " intricate " need scare 
no reader, for he has marshalled his facts so skilfully that much 
which might have been obscure is crystal-clear. 

The great Lord Lyons — for he was great — was bom in 1817, 
the son of that famous old sea-dog and diplomatist. Admiral Sir 
Edmimd Lyons, afterwards the first Lord Lyons. Like his younger 
brother, he was sent to sea when he was little more than a child 
— only ten years old. But he was quite unfitted for a sailor's 
life ; he was a martyr to sea-sickness, which he never got over, 
and so, as Lord Newton says, " it was probably with no slight 
satisfaction that the navy was exchanged for Winchester." But 
it is a coincidence worthy of note that the two diplomatic achieve- 
ments which chiefly (tnade him famous were, as we shall presently 
see, both of them connected with the sea and shipping and maritime 
law. 

One would have liked to have had some knowledge of his early 
days, for the childhood that was to father a man of so marked a 
personality could not have been without interest, but upon this 
point his biographer is silent ; indeed, a bare page and a half is 
all that is devoted to transferring him from Winchester to Christ- 
church, where he took his degree in 1838, and to the thirteen years 
during which he was eating out his heart as an attache at Athens 
(where his father, the Admiral, was minister), despairing of pro- 



Lord Lyons 135 

motion and half-minded to leave a profession in which he was 
destined to be so distinguished a figure. 

In 1853 we find him at Rome, a post of some importance, though, 
as England had no diplomatic relations with the Vatican, it was 
always filled by an official of no higher rank than one of the Secre- 
taries of Legation at Florence, and afterwards at the Italian Court 
when it was at Turin, and later transferred to Florence. It was 
a post which needed no little skill and tact, and was later occupied 
with conspicuous ability by Lord Odo Russell (Lord Ampthill). 

Lord Lyons' experience showed, as he himself wrote, that " in 
spite of my peculiar position, notwithstanding a very strong 
opinion to the contrary, at Rome, as at most other places, one 
succeeds best by transacting one's business in the most plain and 
straightforward manner, and through the most direct channels. 
By acting on this principle and by being very quiet and unobtrusive, 
I think I have in part allayed the suspicions which are felt towards 
us always more or less at Rome, and I am certainly on a better 
footing with Cardinal Antonelli than I had at all expected to be " 

This saying of his — uttered at the very beginning of his first 
experience of an independent post — is worth quoting, for it gives 
us the keynote of his whole diplomatic career, and reveals the 
secret of the success which he achieved when he was afterwards 
placed in positions as difficult and as delicate as any that a diplo- 
matist was ever called upon to face. 

Four years later Lord Lyons was called upon to settle " one 
of those trivial questions which so deeply exercised the diplomacy 
of a former generation " — a question, indeed, which it is nowadays 
difficult to imagine occurring outside of the Court of the Grand 
Duchess of Gerolstein. Lord Normanby, K.G., Ex-Viceroy of 
Ireland, was British Minister at Florence, and had gone on leave, 
furious, in circumstances which were grave indeed. 

The Pope having visited Florence, a banquet in his honour 
had been given by the Grand Duke, and the diplomatic body 
were invited ; but to their great indignation they were not seated 
at the Tavola di Stato, the sovereign table. Lord Normanby 
demanded an apology, and the chers coUegues having agreed to 
support him, backed out at the last moment ; so Lord Normanby 



136 Memories 



went off fuming and fussing, and " uttering dark threats that he 
would not return unless the apology was forthcoming." Mr. 
Lyons was summoned from Rome to act as charge d'affaires, and 
upon him fell the task of making the Tuscan Government apolo- 
gize. For three weary months a correspondence at which so 
essentially practical a man as Lyons, with his subtle sense of 
humour, must have laughed in his sleeve, used up reams of paper, 
until at last, after " a severe rebuke " from Lord Clarendon, the 
Tuscan Government ate some infinitesimal particle of dirt, " the 
injured Lord Normanby returned to his post, and Lyons resumed 
his duties at Rome." For the full enjoyment of Lord Newton's 
account of the episode it is almost necessary to have known the 
two men as I did — the Turveydrop-like pomposity of the one, and 
the simple sober dignity of the other, gifted with the most delicate 
feeling for proportion. 

It was in March, 1858, that Lord Lyons had his first great 
opportunity. Diplomatic relations with Naples having been 
broken off for some years, Mr. Lyons received orders from Lord 
Malmesbury to proceed to Naples to inquire into the case of the 
Cagliari. It was a difficult matter and created a great excitement 
at the time. 

The Cagliari was a mail steamer plying between Genoa, Sardinia 
and Tunis, and on 25th June, 1857, " a number of Mazzinians 
who had taken passage in her, seized the master and crew, altered 
the course of the vessel, landed at the Island of Ponza in Nea- 
politan territory, where they liberated three hundred political 
prisoners, and Subsequently proceeded to Sapri, in the neighbour- 
hood of Salerno. Here they again disembarked, expecting the 
inhabitants to rise in their favour, but encountered a superior 
force of Neapolitan troops, who killed or captured the whole party, 
while the Cagliari was seized by Neapolitan warships as she was 
making her way ostensibly to Naples. Some weeks later it was 
ascertained that among the prisoners in Naples were two English 
engineers. Watt and Park by name, and it was stated that these 
two men were entirely ignorant of the conspiracy, and had been 
forced by the conspirators to work the engines under threats of 
being summarily shot if they refused." 



Lord Lyons 137 

Naturally the British Government demanded that these two 
men should at least have fair trial, and Lord Clarendon, then 
Foreign Minister, there being no Legation at Naples, wrote per- 
sonally to Signer Carafa, the Neapolitan Foreign Minister, on 
their behalf ; but the Neapolitan Government shuffled and de- 
layed, and in March, 1858, the two men were still in prison, where 
owing to cruel treatment after the manner of the Naples of those 
days, " the health of both was completely broken down, and Watt 
had become partially insane." It was in these circumstances 
that. Lord Malmesbury having succeeded Lord Clarendon at the 
Foreign Office, Mr. Lyons was ordered to proceed to Naples to 
investigate the case. He was successful. The two Englishmen 
were released, and after further negotiations an indemnity of 
£3,000 was paid to Watt and Park, and finally the Cagliari was 
placed at Mr. Lyons' disposal. 

The question had been complicated by our relations with Sar- 
dinia, and Lyons had been ordered to use threats of our making 
common cause with that Power against Naples should his demands 
be refused ; but as Lord Newton points out, it was an additional 
satisfaction for Lyons to be able to say, " Far from threatening, 
I did not even go so far as my instructions warranted, for I did 
not say that His Majesty's Government proposed that the mediator 
should retire at the end of three months, nor did I tell Signer 
Carafa that I was myself ordered to go back to Rome if the 
mediation should be refused at the expiration of ten days." 

The same methods of suave and gentle persuasion which an- 
swered so well in this case were to be the secret of his success a 
few years later in another hemisphere and in far more critical cir- 
cumstances. The conduct of the Cagliari case resulted in his 
being appointed Minister at Florence, and in the following 
November (1858) " came the offer of the Washington Legation, 
an offer which, with characteristic modesty, he accepted with 
considerable misgivings as to his competence." It was a good 
thing for England that any such scruples as he may have enter- 
tained were overcome. His mission to Washington was big with 
fate. In the same month his father died and he succeeded to 
the peerage. 



138 Memories 



In February, 1859, Lord Lyons sailed for Washington in H.M.S. 
Curasao. In these times of huge liners and rapid passages, with 
the possibility already in view of still swifter crossings of the 
Atlantic in airships, it is startling to read of a voyage which occu- 
pied forty-two days, " a period which must have been singularly 
disagreeable to a man who, in spite of some years' naval service, 
always suffered from sea-sickness." 

It was no doubt something of a relief to Lord Lyons to meet 
with a most courteous reception when he presented his credentials 
to Mr. Buchanan, the then President of the United States, for he 
might well have anticipated that, at any rate at first, the Lega- 
tion at Washington would not be a bed of roses. He had to take 
up the succession of Sir John Crampton, a diplomatist who, though, 
first as secretary of Legation and afterwards as minister, he had 
served for a good many years at Washington, had never suc- 
ceeded in making himself popular with the United States 
authorities. 

There had been much ill-feeling between the two countries on 
account of enlistments for foreign legions at the time of the Crimean 
War ; Crampton, who did not realize the susceptibilities of the 
Americans, had been very active in this recruiting scheme, and 
matters had reached a point of such tension that in May, 1856, 
President Pierce broke off relations with Crampton, who had to 
return home. 

Things had more or less quieted down in the meantime, but 
in December, 1858, a Presidential message containing " some 
rather ominous passages with regard to the relations between 
England and the United States " was delivered. There were 
at the time not a few signs of underground forces at work which 
might at any moment break out into open eruption. Lord Lyons 
would have been superhuman if he had not felt some emotion at 
entering upon duties which must manifestly be fraught with un- 
usual difficulties ; still, " the sentiments now expressed were 
friendly in character and showed a disposition to settle pending 
difficulties in an amicable spirit." Statesmen so minded, and 
animated by this conciliatory feeling, might reckon upon being 
wholeheartedly seconded by the new minister. 



Lord Lyons 139 

For a year or two Lord Lyons had no very crucial question to 
face. The San Juan " difficulty," in which the United States 
Government showed the most conciliatory temper, and the 
question of the possible absorption of Mexico by the United States, 
in which Great Britain had no more than a philanthropic concern 
inspired by the feeling that it would have threatened the exten- 
sion of slavery, could hardly be reckoned as coming under such 
a category. 

In the meantime, in such negotiations as he had to conduct, his 
conciliatory and unobtrusive policy, his great discretion, had 
won for him golden opinions and much respect among all classes 
of American politicians ; that, together with the popularity which 
the Prince of Wales never failed to gain and which was a con- 
spicuous result of His Royal Highness's visit to Canada and the 
United States in i860, happily placed the relations between the 
two countries on such a footing as had probably never existed 
since the separation. The value of this was felt when the great 
strain came. In 1861, Mr. Buchanan had faded into that Stygian 
darkness in which ex-presidents of the United States flit as 
phantoms of a past dignity. 

Abraham Lincoln ruled in his stead — Abraham Lincoln, tree- 
feller, rail-splitter, village postman, and one of the greatest men 
that ever made history. 

This tall, gaunt, raw-boned, lantern-jawed man, fresh caught 
from Illinois, with none of the graces which the gods have given, 
save that supreme grace of truth and pellucid honesty which 
sweetens all intercourse, would have been an easy man for a 
minister like Lord Lyons, himself the very incarnation of trans- 
parent sincerity, to deal with. His Secretary of State, Mr. H. 
Seward, was a man of another kidney. Mr. Seward was a New 
York lawyer, a rough, coarse, unconciliatory nature, one of those 
impossible people who mistake bluster for courage, and braggadocio 
for strength — so unmannerly was he that on one occasion when 
he was a guest at a dinner-party at the British Legation, he 
talked so offensively to certain of the diplomatists present that 
Lord Lyons, a past-master in the art of turning a sharp comer, 
broke up the conversation by saying that as host it was now his 



140 Memories 



duty to go and talk to the ladies. It needed all the tact, patience 
and self-control of Lord Lyons to treat with such a man. That 
he succeeded in taming him into something approaching to the 
amenities — I had almost written the decencies — of diplomatic 
intercourse, was one of Lord Lyons' most notable achieve- 
ments. 

In i860 the United States were on the brink of a volcano. The 
secession of the Southern States was imminent, and on the loth of 
December Lord Lyons wrote to the Duke of Newcastle : " It is 
difficult to believe that I am in the same country which appeared 
so prosperous, so contented, and one may say so calm when we 
travelled through it. . . . Our friends are apparently going ahead 
on the road to ruin with their characteristic speed and energy. 
The President [Buchanan] is harassed beyond measure." 

Lincoln was inaugurated a,s President in March, 1861, and in 
the following April the dogs of war were let loose with a vengeance, 
" and the capture of Fort Sumter [by the Confederates] signalized 
the fact that a population of little over five millions of white men 
had had the audacity to challenge over twenty-two millions of 
their fellow-countrymen." The blockade of the southern ports 
became all important for England. Lord Lyons, writing to Lord 
John Russell, said : " If the United States are to be permitted 
to seize any ship of ours wherever they can find her under their 
jurisdiction on the plea that by going to a southern port she has 
violated the U. S. Customs Laws, our commerce will be exposed 
to vexations beyond bearing, and all kinds of new and doubtful 
questions will be raised. In fact, this, it seems to me, would be a 
paper blockade of the worst kind. It would certainly justify 
Great Britain and France in recognizing the Southern Confederacy, 
and sending their fleets to force the U. S. to treat British and 
French vessels as neutrals in conformity with the law of nations." 
Mr. Seward was apparently convinced of the reality of this danger, 
but when he saw how violent the President and his colleagues were, 
veered round and became " the fiercest of the lot." Lord Lyons 
went on to say, " I am in constant apprehension of some foolish 
and violent proceeding of the Government with regard to Foreign 
Powers. Neither the President nor any man in the Cabinet has a 



Lord Lyons 141 

knowledge of foreign affairs ; they have consequently all the 
overwhelming confidence in their own strength which popular 
oratory has made common in this country." 

The position of the British Minister at Washington was one of 
supreme difficulty. The Government had wisely made common 
cause with France, but no clear instructions as to procedure had 
been issued to Lord Lyons, — Lord John Russell contenting himself 
with saying that he relied upon " the wisdom, patience and prudence 
of the British Minister to steer safely through the danger of the 
crisis." The Law Officers of the Crown gave it as their opinion 
" that we must consider the civil war in America as regular war — 
justum bellum — and must apply to it all the rules respecting blockade 
and letters of marque, which belong to neutrals during a war." 
They went on to express a pious wish that both parties should 
agree to the Declaration of Paris regarding the flag covering the 
goods and the prohibition of privateers. 

Pious wishes do not always bear fruit, and seeing the vital 
importance to England, and especially to Lancashire, of trade with 
the Southern States, it was evident that blockade running would 
soon become a common practice, and, seeing how ineffectual that 
blockade was, would be resorted to with the result that considerable 
fortunes would be amassed by it. 

Matters were not made easier by the negotiations which were 
taking place at home between Lord John and Mr. Adams, 
the new American Minister, who had succeeded Mr. Dallas. Mr. 
Adams said that the language held by Lord John to his predecessor 
had given umbrage in the United States, and might even lead to 
the termination of his own mission unless the unfavourable im- 
pression should be corrected. He complained, moreover, of the 
recognition of the South as a belligerent. Lord Newton very 
justly points out that Lord John Russell was honest in his en- 
deavours to show that England, as a whole, was in sympathy with 
the North — ^popular feeUng was naturally all on the side of the 
abolition of slavery. The ovation which Mrs. Beecher Stow re- 
ceived in London was not yet forgotten, and " Uncle Tom's Cabin," 
now a forgotten book, was still selling by thousands. But Lord 
John Russell as a negotiator was neither conciliatory nor tactful 



142 Memories 



and it was certainly remarkable that while on the other side of the 
Atlantic Lord Lyons was using all his tact, all his discretion, both 
natural and trained, to soften the asperities of Mr. Seward, Mr 
Adams, on this side, was confronted with the querulous acrimony 
of the English Foreign Minister. 

There was, moreover, another British statesman whose clumsy 
activities and hardly concealed partiality were peculiarly exas- 
perating to the men of the North. Mr. Gladstone never quite 
shared the indignation and horror with which slavery was regarded 
by the bulk of his fellow-countrymen, and when, later in the con- 
flict, the cotton famine and the attacks of the American Press had 
alienated many Englishmen from the North, there were " demon- 
strations of pleasure " in the House of Commons at McClellan's 
defeat, and Mr. Gladstone declared that " Jefferson Davis and 
the leaders of the South have made an army ; they are making, 
it appears, a navy, and they have made what is more than either, 
they have made a nation." 

Language such as this, held at the moment when the fortunes 
of the Federals were at their blackest, could not but arouse the 
bitterest feeling. Mr. Gladstone was apt to be anything but happy 
when he dealt with the susceptibilities of foreign nations. A 
passage in a speech of his, delivered on the 17th of March, 1880, 
during the famous Midlothian campaign, is imforgettable. I 
shall allude to it at length elsewhere. His utterances in regard 
to the War of Secession in America were even more dangerous 
than this. Austria might be offended by his insults, but they 
would not, could not, lead to open hostilities. ' But there were 
moments during the great contest across the Atlantic which were 
crucial, and no responsible statesman should have hampered 
friendly negotiations, the object of which was to avoid a fratricidal 
war between two peoples of the Anglo-Saxon race. It is necessary, 
in order to understand the difficulties with which Lord Lyons had 
to deal, to show what were the elements of conflict working on both 
sides of the Atlantic which he had to meet and overcome. That 
he succeeded, that when he went home on leave to consult with 
the Cabinet he was able to write to Lord Russell, " I had quite an 
affectionate parting with the President this morning," was one 



Lord Lyons '43 

01 those triumphs of peace of which the laurels are greener and 
more fragrant than any that ever hid the baldness of a Caesar. 

The course of the great War of Secession is followed with con- 
spicuous ability in Lord Newton's life. It is impossible to 
say more about it here than that throughout those terrible years 
in which gifts of the most consummate tact and judgment were put 
to the test, Lord Lyons continued to work with patriotic patience 
and with such great restraint that one is almost tempted to say 
silently ; indeed, in one letter to Lord Russell he himself talks 
of " my language, or rather silence." One only goal was ever 
before his eyes, and that goal the prevention of any cause or excuse 
that might lead to an outbreak of hostilities between the two 
countries. I can go into no details here, but there were two 
episodes in which his moderating influence curbed the hot heads 
of both nations. 

The first was the famous case of the Trent. On the 8th of 
November, i86i, " the English mail steamer Trent, one day out 
from Havana, was met by the American warship San Jacinto, 
and stopped by a shell fired across her bows. She was then 
boarded by a party of marines, and the officer in command of the 
party demanded a list of the passengers. The production of the 
list having been refused, the officer stated that he knew the Con- 
federate delegates to Europe, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, to be on 
board, and insisted upon their surrender. While the discussion 
was in progress, Mr. Slidell made his appearance and disclosed his 
identity. Thereupon, in defiance of the protests of the captain 
of the Trent and of the Government mail agent, Mr. Slidell and 
Mr. Mason, together with their secretaries, were seized and carried 
off by force to the San Jacinto, and taken as prisoners to New 
York." 

When the news arrived in England the excitement and indig- 
nation were such that no one who witnessed them will ever forget 
that fever of wrathful resentment. On the other side the less 
thoughtful portion of the American public worked itself up into a 
perfect delirium of patriotic enthusiasm. Captain Wilkes, the 
commander of the San Jacinto, was raised to the dignity of a 
national hero ; banquets were held in hi.<! honour and the Governor 



144 Memories 



of Boston made a speech in which he said " That there may be 
nothing left to crown this exultation, Commodore Wilkes fired his 
shot across the bows of the ship that bore the British lion at its 
head." Promotion to the rank of Admiral was the heroic captain's 
reward. 

Peaceful and conciliatory as Lord Lyons was, and deeply con- 
cerned as he had shown himself in the avoidance of giving or of 
unnecessarily accepting any cause of offence, he was as convinced 
as the Home Government that in this procedure of Captain Wilkes 
the limit at which patience was possible had been reached, and it 
must have been a relief to him to receive the despatch in which 
" The United States Government were informed that International 
Law and the rights of Great Britain had been violated, that Her 
Majesty's Government trusted that the act would be disavowed, 
the prisoners set free and restored to British protection. Should 
this demand be refused. Lord Lyons was instructed to leave 
Washington." 

Before the despatch was sent off, on the 30th of November, 
it was sent for approval to the Queen. Her Majesty was con- 
stantly in the habit of amending Lord Russell's despatches, always 
rather slipshod affairs, and often couched in offensive language. 
She never did so with greater effect than upon this occasion when, 
acting upon the suggestions of that most sagacious adviser, the 
Prince Consort, written at a moment when, as he himself said, 
he was so ill that " he could hardly hold the pen," she so toned 
down such expressions as might have wounded the sensitive feel- 
ings of the United States that the despatch, when it was received 
by Mr. Seward, raised no dissatisfaction, and that he " handsomely 
acknowledged the great consideration which had been shown by 
Lord Lyons in his conduct of the negotiations." 

In their deep sorrow it must have been a happy memory for 
the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and his brothers and sisters to 
feel that the last official act of the husband and father whom they 
loved and venerated, on the eve of his entering into that peace 
which passeth all understanding,* should have been largely the 
means of preventing what would have been a tragedy indeed, 
* The Prince Consort died on the 14th December. 



Lord Lyons H5 

It was a peace which was " a victory no less renowned than 
war." 

Mr. Seward's answer to the British despatch was a note " of the 
most portentous length, abounding in exuberant dialectics, but the 
gist of which was contained in the two following short paragraphs : 
The four persons in question are now held in military custody 
at Fort Warren, in the State of Massachusetts. They will be 
cheerfully liberated. 

Your lordship will please indicate a time and place for 
receiving them.' " 

The rest of the note might as well have been left unwritten. 

Messrs. Mason and Slidell were accordingly conveyed in an 
American ship from Fort Warren to Province Town, and there 
embarked on a British warship for Halifax, it having been expressly 
stipulated that the transfer should not take place at night. From 
Halifax they proceeded to Europe. 

The affair ended even better than Lord Lyons had hoped. On 
the 19th of December he wrote : " I don't think it likely they 
will give in, but I do not think it impossible that they may do 
so ; " and to the very end he was preparing for the worst. All 
the greater must have been the relief when, on the 27th, Mr. 
Seward's answer came. " The Americans," he writes on the 31st 
of December, " are putting the best face they can upon the 
surrender of Slidell and Mason, and as far as depended upon me 
I have done everything to make the pill as easy to swallow as 
possible. But I cannot disguise from myself that the real cause 
of the yielding was nothing more or less than the military prepara- 
tions made in England." Coming from him, these words sound like 
a warning, profitable, if we would but listen, even in these days. 

There are very few great events in history the credit for which 
it would be just to ascribe to any one man, and so perhaps Lord 
Newton is right when he says that " It would be an exaggeration 
to attribute solely to Lord Lyons the credit of having successfully 
prevented the calamity of a war between England and the United 
States." Energetic action of the Home Government, the wise 
moderation of the Queen and the Prince Consort, the loyal moral 
support of the French Government, and the good sense of the 
VOL. I 10 



146 Memories 



Americans, each and all of them played a restraining part. But 
when all is said and done, it was to the extraordinary patience and 
delicacy of touch of Lord Lyons, who never once made a mistake — 
never under the most goading provocation lost his head — that the 
ultimate success of the negotiations was due. 

" In after years," Lord Newton writes, " Lord Lyons frequently 
expressed the opinion that if there had then been telegraphic 
communication across the Atlantic it would have been impossible 
to avert war, and it is more than likely that he was correct, al- 
though it is improbable that many people realized it at the time." 
It was a notable case of a victory gained by the man on the spot. 

If a difl&culty of the most threatening character had been con- 
jured away there were soon others to which a war such as that 
which was raging was bound to give birth. Enlistment, desertion 
and other pretexts drove scores of men to seek protection of the 
consuls both in the North and in the South, on the groimd of being 
British subjects. 

An article from a Southern newspaper is worth quoting : " We 
can conceive nothing more disgraceful than the conduct of Irish- 
men, for example, who have been cursing the British Government 
ever since they could talk, who have emigrated from their covmtry 
to escape the British yoke, but who now run to an English Consul 
and profess themselves subjects of Queen Victoria in order to 
evade their duties in the land of their adoption." That, of course, 
alludes to the South, but Lord Lyons himself on nth May, 1863, 
writes no less bitterly : " I have been unwell for more than a 
month, and am beset by a quantity of small vexatious business 
concerning the wrongs of the British subjects who have suddenly 
proclaimed their unswerving loyalty to the British Crown and 
demand my protection." 

Also there was the Alabama case — a very real stone of offence 
■■ — and the bitter Anglophobia of Admiral Wilkes ; all matters in 
which the United States Government behaved generously and 
oven magnanimously. The work, however, which devolved upon 
Lord Lyons was stupendous ; in November, 1863, he recorded 
that he had already received nine hundred notes from Mr. Seward 
in that year. But there was one episode so comic that it is diffi- 



Lord Lyons ^47 

cult to repress a smile in alluding to it. Is there not a comedy in 
every tragedy ? Is there not a gravedigger in Hamlet ? 

A great change had, during the last year or two, come over the 
terrible Mr. Seward. Tamed by the British Minister, he was now 
roaring as gently as any sucking dove, and would come to feed out 
of the hands of Lord Lyons or M. Mercier, the French Minister, 
with all the caressing softness of a pet lamb. In August, 1863, 
in a confidential conversation with Lord Lyons, he expatiated 
upon the necessity of reviving a better feeling between Great 
Britain and the United States, and of making some demonstration 
in return for the visit of the Prince of Wales before the war, which 
had been productive of the happiest results. 

Now it was the turn of the United States to make a corresponding 
display of good will, but it was difficult to devise the means of 
doing so, as the President could not travel and America possessed 
no princes. Would Lord Lyons think the matter over ? Lord 
Lyons could not see the necessity for such a step ; but Mr. Seward 
returned to the charge, and Lord Lyons, who was not slow in seeing 
his object, wrote : " The only conjecture I can make is that he 
thinks of going to England himself. He may possibly want to 
be absent for some reasons connected with the Presidential contest. 
If he thinks that he has himself any chance of being taken as a 
candidate by either party he is the only man who thinks so at 
this moment. It is, however, generally considered to be an 
advantage to a candidate to be out of the country during the 
canvass." (In view of recent Presidential elections these last 
words are amazing. Times have changed since 1863.) To think 
of a visit by Mr. Seward, of all men, as an adequate compliment 
in exchange for the Prince of Wales' visit ! Needless to say, that 
demonstration did not take place. 

However conciliatory Mr. Seward might have become, mainly 
owing to the correct attitude of the British Government in detain- 
ing Confederate ironclads in England, public feeling in America, 
and even in certain members of the Government, was bitterly 
hostile. Mr. Wells, who was Naval Minister, and Mr. Chase, the 
Secretary of the Treasury, were cases in point. The latter knew 
well that he was harping upon a popular string when on an 
VOL. I 10* 



148 Memories 



electioneering tour he talked of " taking old Mother England by 
the hair and giving her a good shaking." Mr. Sumner, another 
distinguished politician, outdid him in rancour. 

Lord Lyons' difficulties and trials were never destined to cease 
so long as he remained at Washington. For the details of these 
I must refer the reader to Lord Newton's masterly narrative. 
In a mere appreciation such as this it is impossible to do more 
than hint, even where the subject tempts the writer to expatiate. 
To add to his troubles, the long years of grinding work and harass- 
ing anxieties had begun to tell upon the health of the Minister. 
A trip to Canada to escape for a while from the great heat of 
Washington could not restore a man who was evidently sunering 
from nervous prostration. Lord Lyons felt at the end of 1864 
that he could hold out no longer. It was not surprising. During 
the year 1864 no less than 8,326 despatches and letters were sent 
out by him — mostly drafted by himself, but in any case, revised 
and corrected by him. His attaches and secretaries were at work 
from nine in the morning until seven, without an interval for 
luncheon — and often they had to return after dinner and write 
into the small hours. That is the sort of life that is led in times 
of stress by those members of the diplomatic service whom the 
public is apt to look upon as mere dancing dogs ! As I shall show 
later on, the Legation at Washington during the war was not the 
only theatre of such work. 

Lord Lyons went home and took up his abode with his sister, 
the Duchess of Norfolk, and on i6th March, 1865, he wrote to Mr. 
Stuart, the charge d'affaires at Washington : " You will have seen 
that I have gone out of the service altogether and have become a 
gentleman at large, without pay or pension. My health did not 
admit of my fixing a time for going back, and the Cabinet became 
nervous about leaving Washington without a Minister in these 
critical times." 

Lack of space forbids me to reproduce the very handsome ex- 
pressions of regret at Lord Lyons' departure which he received 
both from Mr. Seward and from Lord RusseU. He had, indeed, 
served both countries well, and as Lord Newton says in regard to 
the letter of the former : " It is satisfactory to realize that these 



Lord Lyons 149 

two men, between whom so many encomiters had taken place, 
parted on terms of friendship and mutual esteem." They 
appreciated one another's good quaUties, and that Lord Lyons 
retained in his heart a soft corner for the rugged New York lawyer 
is shown by the fact that " in subsequent communications with 
his own Government Lord Lyons frequently expressed the hope 
that Mr. Seward would continue to be responsible for the foreign 
policy of the American Government." 



Rest and the society of his relations — the best of aU restoratives 
to a man of Lord Lyons' affectionate nature — in contrast to the 
strenuous labours of those four exhausting years, soon effected a 
cure. He was out of the service, but such a man could hardly be 
spared, and in the month of July, 1865, he was appointed to the 
Embassy at Constantinople, in succession to Sir Henry Bulwer 
(Lord Dalling) . It would have been difficult to find two men more 
different than Bulwer and Lord Lyons. 

Bulwer was a clever curiosity, and a bom intriguer. On leaving 
Cambridge, he had been successively a Greek patriot, a cornet in 
the Life Guards, an ensign in the 58th Foot, had retired upon 
half-pay, had achieved success as a gambler and dandy (not quite 
of the first water), and finally entered the diplomatic service. 
In appearance, in his old days, he was a small shadow of a man, 
as wizened as Tithonus, with an insane desire to show the frame 
of an athlete. To this end he used to encase himself in number- 
less great-coats, from which, when he came to the Foreign Office 
and the heat became intolerable, he would pray some kindly clerk 
to set him free, and the poor old mummy was unrolled. As 
- Ambassador at Constantinople he had ample opportimities for 
the exercise of his peculiar talents ; he was often in hot water, 
but, Uke a famous bishop, always contrived to come out with his 
hands clean.* His methods were not those of Lord Lyons, they 
were far more nearly in accord with those of the Russian Am- 
bassador, General Ignatieff, whom the Turks called " the father 

* Bishop Wilberforce's answer to a friend who asked him why he was 
nicknamed " Soapy Sam." 



150 Memories 



of lies." Lord Lyons' transparent honesty must have been an 
astonishment to Constantinople, which was used to being a hot- 
bed of underhand machinations, plots and counterplots, and where 
no diplomatist trusted anybody else, least of all the colleagues 
with whom he was supposed to live in brotherly love. However, 
it was a time of comparative calm, and Lord Lyons, accompanied 
by his two trusty henchmen, Malet and Shefl&eld, whom, with 
his usual affection for his friends, he had insisted upon taking 
with him, was able to enjoy all the charm of that most captivating 
city in a peace of mind to which he had long been a stranger. 

The Danubian principalities were a worry, as they always had 
been, and as, now that they have been exalted into Kingdoms 
with a rich importation of ready-made monarchs from abroad, 
they continue to be. Crete was another difficulty, as it has been 
ever since the days of the three evil Kappas. Still there were 
troubles which, after the years of perpetual pin-pricks and immi- 
nent international dangers on the other side of the Atlantic, must 
have been looked upon by Lord Lyons as no more than enough 
to keep his armour from growing rusty. 

In 1867 Lord Cowley resigned the Embassy at Paris, and the 
post was offered by Lord Stanley to Lord Lyons. Lord Cowley 
was a model diplomatist, of the old school, self -restrained, im- 
demonstrative, absolutely ignorant of those arts of advertisement 
which form too large a portion of the equipment of the statesmen 
of to-day. He had been brought up in the strictest sect of 
diplomacy, and only six years, during which the Embassy at 
Paris had been held by Lord Normanby, separated him from the 
time when his father held the same post. The first Lord Cowley 
was one of those three famous brothers, the other two being the 
great Duke of Wellington and the Marquess of Wellesley, of 
whom it would be idle and out of place to say aught here. The 
second Lord Cowley, afterwards created an earl, had gained an 
influence at the Court of the Tuileries which on more than one 
occasion saved a difficult situation. Never was this more con- 
spicuously shown than when, in i860, Mr. Cobden was sent to 
Paris on his famous mission in connection with the treaty of 
commerce. The negotiations, so long as Mr. Cobden insisted on 



Lord Lyons 151 

conducting them by himself, were none too prosperous. Indeed, 
there came a day when after a protracted conference, Mr. Cobden 
came back to the British Embassy ready to throw up the sponge. 
Lord Cowley comforted him and said : " Let me see what I can 
do." He skilfully turned the comer and the treaty was signed. 
But Cobden claimed and received all the glory. 

It was in the footsteps of this great diplomatist and statesman, 
whose quiet dignity, no less than his political sagacity, had made 
him a very real factor in all international affairs, that Lord Lyons 
was to follow. He felt that it was a difficult succession ; he wrote 
to him : " When I first heard that you were likely to give up 
Paris, I felt, as I think I said in my letter to you, alarmed at the 
prospect of the Embassy's falling into other hands. I should have 
been indeed alarmed had I then known into whose hands it was 
likely to fall." This was characteristic modesty, but Lord Lyons 
need have been under no alarm. Lord Cowley might well feel that 
his successor would be worthy of him, and it is hardly too much 
to surmise that his advice was sought by Lord Stanley before the 
appointment was made. Lord Cowley was acquainted as no 
other man could be with all the forces at work in France from 
the Emperor downwards ; he knew the whole intricate network 
of French politics, and he was in a position to take the measure 
of aU the men who might be "in the running " for the Embassy. 
It is hardly thinkable that so judicious a statesman as Lord 
Stanley should not have consulted him. Be that as it may, the 
wisdom of the choice was fully justified. 

Lord Lyons had now reached the highest reward which his 
profession had to offer. The Embassy at Paris must always be, 
in importance as in dignity, superior to any other diplomatic post. 
In the days of which we are writing it was, and probably still is, 
more or less an annexe of the Foreign Office in Downing Street. 
There are few international questions in which the interests of 
England arid France are not almost equally concerned, whether 
they be acting in opposition to one another or in concert. Every 
despatch which reached the Foreign Office, no matter whence it 
came, was copied for Paris. The labour which it entailed upon 
the Ambassador was Herculean ; indeed, since the day after all 



152 Memories 



consists of only twenty-four hours, it may be doubted whether 
even such indefatigable workers as Lord Cowley and Lord Lyons 
could have found time to read and digest all the matter which 
was sent to them. There were certain excellent and worthy 
ministers whose verbosity experience must have taught them to 
put on one side. Still, even the absolutely necessary work of 
reading was exhausting. 

It really seemed as if, in some sense, Lord Lyons was destined 
to be the stormy petrel of diplomacy. He was sent to Florence, 
and the Grand Ducal reign collapsed. He went to America, and 
the War of Secession broke out. He was promoted to Paris, and 
there came the great catastrophe. So shrewd an observer as 
Lord Lyons could not fail to see that the throne of Louis Napoleon 
was tottering. The poor Emperor was surrounded by difficulties 
with which he seemed quite unable to cope. Abroad there were 
many troubles, not the least of which was the question of the 
occupation of Rome, which meant the bolstering up of the Papal 
Government. Then there was the growing power of Russia and 
such matters as the annexation of the Grand Duchy of Baden 
to the North German Confederation. Greek affairs, the perennial 
question of ceding Crete and other portions of the Ottoman 
dominions to Greece, was another source of disquietude. 

In France there was a great feeling of discontent, owing, as Lord 
Lyons said, " mainly, I imagine, to the inconstancy of men, and 
Frenchmen in particular. In fact he has reigned eighteen years, 
and they are getting tired of so much of the same thing and want 
novelty." The glitter of the Empire had ceased to dazzle, and 
even the brilliant Cent Gardes no longer captivated the women 
and aroused the enthusiasm, tempered by jealousy, of the men. 

In his own family the Emperor had, as everybody knew, to deal 
with a wife who was taking more and more part in public business. 
in spite of her declaration that she meant to abandon politics 
for works of charity. Lord Lyons' account of an interview with 
Her Majesty is very instructive on that point. 

Then there was Prince Napoleon to be reckoned with — a very 
astute politician, with something of the prophet's eye and, like 
many another prophet of old, but little of a comfort to the ruling 



Lord Lyons i53 

power. With him also, for he was a frequent visitor to the Em- 
bassy, Lord Lyons had much talk, during which — notably upon 
the subject of the Roman question — it is strange to be told that 
the Prince expressed his views in the hope that they would thus 
be brought before the Emperor — the English Ambassador to be 
the intermediary between Prince Napoleon and his cousin ! This 
Prince, who in many ways was a deplorable person, was able to 
impress Lord Lyons by his ability and shrewd common sense. 
" He spoke with great animation and remarkably well." 

In the spring of 1868, Prince Napoleon made a tour in Germany. 
He returned fully impressed with the danger of a war with Prussia, 
with the folly of attempting to annex the Rhenish provinces, and 
with the vanity of talking of disarmament (how history repeats 
itself !), seeing that Prussia alone had two hundred thousand men 
lander arms. Though opposed to war, if war there must be, it should 
be made at once ; the consolidation of Northern Germany was pro- 
ceeding surely and rapidly ; the adhesion of Southern Germany 
would soon follow, and " hereafter war would have to be waged 
with Germany thoroughly united and perfectly organized. ... He 
considered that an unsuccessful war would overthrow the Emperor 
and his dynasty and send the whole Bonaparte family to the 
right-about ; a war only partially successful would rather weaken 
than strengthen the Emperor at home ; while a thoroughly success- 
ful war would simply give His Majesty a fresh lease of Csesarism, 
and adjourn indefinitely the liberal institutions which he [Prince 
Napoleon] considered essential to the durability of the dynasty. 
The Prince is not without apprehension as to war being made this 
season [1868]. He fears weak men, and he looks upon the Emperor 
as a weak man. He fears the people who surround His Majesty, 
the generals, the chamberlains, the ladies of the Palace." 

These views of Prince Napoleon, which, are among the many 
new contributions to history contained in Lord Newton's book, 
seemed well worth giving in extenso. The Prince was not the only 
man who looked upon the relations with Germany in a spirit of 
grave anxiety. What the intimate views of the Emperor may have 
been upon this subject it would be hard to say. When, in 1863, 
he sulked in his tent, his abstention from interference in the 



154 Memories 



invasion of Denmark contributed not a little to the aggrandize- 
ment of Prussia ; it was his fate to be continually hatching broods 
of homing chickens. 

In the meantime the Emperor was trying to bring about a con- 
ference of the Powers to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for him 
in regard to the Roman question. A conference was his panacea 
for all diplomatic ailments. In this he was warmly seconded by 
the Empress, who, in a long conversation with Lord Lyons, in 
which " she spoke with much grace both of manner, and, I think, 
with very great ability," urged the importance and propriety of 
non-Catholic, as well as Catholic, Powers taking part in it. 

Lord Stanley's comment upon this letter was characteristic. 
He said that the Empress's " frank and sensible conversation " 
furnished the best reason he had received yet for keeping out of the 
affair altogether. Why should we be asked to bear for the Emperor 
the responsibility which he had assumed ? Prince Napoleon shared 
Lord Stanley's views. He thought that the best service England 
could render the Emperor would be to advise him to give up the 
idea of a conference and settle the matter with Italy by satisfying, 
at least in a certain measure, Italian aspirations. " He declares," 
writes Lord Lyons, " that Italy will never be quiet, and that the 
unity of Italy will never be assured until she gets Rome for her 
capital. He believes that the Emperor's support of the Pope is 
very unpopular with the great majority of the French people, and 
that it will, if persevered in, be a serious danger to the dynasty." 
... He wishes England to advise the Emperor that " He will 
not be able to hold his own unless he abandons the system of 
personal government and gives a large increase of liberty." 

Grumbling and growling everywhere ! The Emperor at his wits' 
ends and talking of " moral influence," that last poor refuge of a 
desperate statesman ! 

In spite of political troubles, and the manifest lack of sympathy 
on the part of England, Louis Napoleon was not slow in discovering 
the charm and st«rling merits of Lord Lyons, whose tact could not 
fail to ingratiate him wherever he went. " The Emperor talked 
to me a long time and related to me interesting anecdotes, some 
very amusing, of the conduct of various persons towards him in 



Lord Lyons 155 

past times." But unfortunately Lord Lyons was no gossip, and so 
these " very amusing " stories have been lost. 

How entertaining it would have been to be carried, like Cleofas 
by Asmodeus, le diable boiteux, through the roof, and allowed 
to listen unseen to the talk between the two. To the world at 
large Louis Napol6on in the Tuileries was a mystery as silent as 
the Sphinx in the desert, for so the newspapers described him. 
Few men suspected that in the grey volutes of the brain which 
lay behind that wooden mask there was a sense of rather sardonic 
humour, which, when he chose to give it play, made him the best 
of company. We may be sure that the Ambassador, no less 
gifted in that respect, would not be slow to throw back the ball 
in these encounters of wits. 

Like the Emperor, Lord Lyons had a quite irresistible trick of 
giving a whimsical expression to a commonplace subject. He, 
too, was in his quiet way a humorist. The personal relations 
between him and the Emperor were always pleasant and some- 
times, perhaps, cordial. Lord Lyons liked His Majesty, though, 
in one of those rare outbursts of confidence in which he revealed 
his thoughts, he confessed to Lord Newton that he had formed no 
very high opinion of his abilities. 

The attempt to arouse in England interest in the Roman question 
was fruitless, but he never quite gave up the hope of inducing the 
English Government to act as pacificators between France and 
Germany. But he had lost confidence, he was out of spirits, and 
when Lord Cowley, in August, 1868, paid him a visit at Fontaine- 
bleau, he told Lord Lyons on his return that he found him much 
depressed and aged — a disappointed man, who would willingly, 
had it been possible, have retired into private life. The glamour 
of the early glories of his reign had faded into mist, and he 
was weary. 

A little later in the same year Lord Clarendon, whose influence 
with him and with the Empress, whom he had known from her 
childhood when he was Minister at Madrid, was a matter of common 
knowledge, dined with His Majesty at St. Cloud, and having just 
returned from Berlin, was able to repeat to him the pacific language 
which he had heard from the King and Queen of Prussia and General 



156 Memories 



Moltke. This was good hearing, but the Emperor was at no pains 
to conceal his anxiety lest anything should occur that might arouse 
the feeling of the army and the nation, and he expressed his earnest 
wish that " England should step in to enable France and Prussia 
to withdraw with honour from their present antagonistic attitude." 

Lord Clarendon, with that nobility which characterized all his 
dealings, communicated to Lord Lyons all that he had learned 
both at Berlin and at St. Cloud, although he knew that it would 
be for the benefit of his political opponents. But by the end of 
the year there was a change of Government in England, and to 
the Emperor's great joy Lord Clarendon, the friend whom he 
loved, was once more at the Foreign Office. 

A visit of the Crown Prince of Prussia to England enabled Lord 
Clarendon to tell Lord Lyons that His Royal Highness was to 
the full as peacefully inclined as his father, and indeed he went a 
step further, for while he personally was willing to see the army 
placed upon a peace footing, the King would not hear of it. But 
how strange it seemed at a moment when we in England have been 
proposing naval holidays to read talk of the same nature earnestly 
exercising the minds of men nearly half a century ago. 

In spite of all pacific assurances the thunder-clouds, black and 
ominous, were gathering. War was imminent ; Prince Napoleon 
went so far as to express the opinion that it would break out in 
the spring ; he was wrong by some eighteen months. Much was 
to happen before what was an anxiety should be crystallized into 
a storm ending in a tragedy such as the world had seldom or 
never seen. 

There was a Cretan conference ; a whole web of intrigue about 
the Luxemburg railway, and the Belgian question threatening the 
peace of Europe ; a proposal for a conference on international 
postage, until Lavalette told Lord Lyons that the country was sick 
of the very name of the thing ; and in spite of conferences and 
pacific talk, trouble was brewing in every direction. 

Meanwhile Lord Lyons was subjected to an annoyance personal 
to himself, but none the less real. In the month of June, 1869, 
Lord Lyons was requested by Lord Clarendon to return to England 
to vote on the Irish Church Bill. He strongly objected to doing 



Lord Lyons 157 

so on the very proper ground that an Ambassador ought to abstain 
from taking a hand in party politics. Lord Clarendon, however, 
urged by Mr. Gladstone, returned to the charge, and in such pointed 
terms that he could not refuse. How sorely it went against the 
grain with him is plain from a letter which two years later he 
addressed to Lord Granville, when the latter begged him to come 
once more and vote on the Army Purchase Bill. That Lord Lyons 
was right in maintaining that it was inexpedient for an ambassador 
to vote on party questions must be manifest. Diplomatists, like 
other permanent civil servants, are bound to serve ministers of 
whatever party may be in ofhce. If they assume the attitude of 
party men it is not in human nature that they should command 
that intimate confidence which is essential to their relations with 
the members of the Government which they have helped to oppose. 

It is a wise and cardinal rule of the English public service that 
its members are neutral. The higher the position the greater the 
obligation in this sense. Lord Lyons was deeply penetrated with 
the importance of a principle which it is a matter of surprise to find 
two such large-minded statesmen as Lord Clarendon and Lord 
Granville eager to set aside for party purposes. It seems worth 
while to call attention to these two incidents, because they show 
what was the opinion of one of the most sagacious and prudent of 
men. Mr. Gladstone's idea that the Government had a right to 
call upon an ambassador for his vote needs no refuting. 

In the course of the correspondence that took place at the end 
of 1869 it was clear that Lord Clarendon had lost all faith, if he 
ever had any, in his friend Louis Napoleon. In one letter he went 
so far as to say, " If the Emperor attaches value to the English 
alliance, he ought not to sacrifice it by a sneaking attempt to in- 
corporate Belgium, by means of a railway company and its 
employes. If he wants war it is a bad pretext for doing that which 
all mankind will blame him for." Later, on the 31st of August, 
he Avrites with prophetic instinct : " The prospect qt affairs in 
France gives cause sufficient for anxiety, and I have an instinct 
that they will drift into a republic before another year is over." 
Indeed, the Fates were busy with the thread of the Empire's life. 

Abroad the attempts to induce Prussia to disarm pursued their 



158 Memories 



gentle but ineffectual course as before. Lord Clarendon did more 
than even his best to try and persuade Bismarck. The man of 
iron and blood was polite, but unmoved. The Due de Gramont, 
known in his salad days as " le bel Agenor," had become Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, and when the thunderbolt of the Hohenzollem 
candidature for the throne of Spain fell in the early days of July, 
the ex-dandy Duke lost no time in intimating to the British Am- 
bassador that France would go to war with both Spain and Prussia 
rather than allow a Hohenzollem to reign at Madrid. . . . "The 
election of Montpensier might be looked upon as a mauvais precede 
towards the Emperor and the dynasty, but the putting forward a 
Prussian was an insult and an injury to all France." At the same 
time the warlike Duke gave Lord Lyons to understand that he 
would be grateful to England if she would use her influence with 
Prussia in order to bring about a solution of the difficulty. 

To the unspeakable sorrow of all England, and we might say of 
Europe, Lord Clarendon had died on the 27th of June. It now 
fell to the lot of Lord Granville to deal with foreign affairs. 
On the 6th of July, he paid a generous tribute to his predecessor 
when he wrote : " It is very sad that I should be writing to you 
in the place of one who would have had so much personal power 
in such a matter as this." 

What I have to say of the war of 1870 and the causes which led 
to it must be told elsewhere ; here I am dealing really with the years 
of the American rebellion, and have only skimmed the first volume 
of Lord Newton's great book. 

In surveying the twenty years during which Lord Lyons was 
Ambassador in Paris, the reader is fairly bewildered by the mass 
and the magnitude of the questions with which he had to deal. 
The Presidency of Thiers — ^his fall ; the election of Mar6chal 
Macmahon ; Franco-German relations, always a threatening sub- 
ject ; the purchase of the Suez Canal shares ; the Treaty of San 
Stefano ; the proposal that Lord Lyons should go as English pleni- 
potentiary to the Congress of Berlin, which to his great relief was 
settled by Lord Beaconsfield going himself with Lord Salisbury ; 
the election of President Grevy ; the Eastern Question ; the concert 
of Europe, always playing out of tune ; Tunis and Tripoli ; the 



Lord Lyons i59 

rebellion of Arabi ; England abandoned by France in Egypt ; the 
pranks of the mountebank General Boulanger — the Napoleon de 
Cafe Concert, an Agamemnon with Paulus, the comic singer, as 
vates sacer, and " en r'venant de la revue " as his anthem ; changes 
of Government without end — these are but stray items in the work 
with which that silent, self-contained, prudent man, gifted with the 
true wisdom of statesmanship, had to wrestle. That he did so 
without ever making a mistake accounts for the esteem in which he 
was held by so many successive secretaries of state. Their confi- 
dence was shown by the numberless cases in which he was left to 
act upon his own discretion. 

He never gave greater proof of wisdom than when he declined 
Lord Salisbury's offer to him in July, 1886, that he should take over 
the seals of the Foreign Office. He was then sixty-nine years of 
age. He was in failing health, worn out by the long exercise of 
almost superhuman industry ; indeed, he was nearer to his end than 
he himself imagined. In a singularly graceful letter Lord Rosebery 
praised his decision. He continued his work at Paris for anothei 
year, but on the iSt of November he resigned and was created 
an Earl. On the 28th of the same month he had a stroke of paralysis, 
and in a week he was dead. 

It would be difficult to improve upon the portrait which Lord 
Newton draws of his former chief. The impression left upon the 
mind of the reader must be recognized as true by all those who had 
the good fortune to know him. As a pubUc man he was absolutely 
devoid of all petty ambition ; he never thought of advertising 
himself, on the contrary he pushed modesty almost to a fault ; 
himself a most indefatigable worker, he expected something of the 
same quality in his subordinates, who loved him for his just, honest 
and generous nature. In his private life he was simple and un- 
ostentatious, yet always dignified. For the amusements in which 
men of his caste are wont to find relief from the cares of business, 
he had no liking. In no form did sport attract him. He was 
content to go dowagering for an afternoon drive with Sheffield, the 
" Hare," so called from his large, almost flapping ears, and Dog 
Toby. The party were a familiar sight to Parisians, who would 
watch the strange trio with some amazement. 



t6o Memories 



We are told that women had so Uttle attraction for him that there 
never was even the suspicion of a flirtation in his Ufe. For his 
family, on the other hand, for his father, his brother and his sisters 
and their children he entertained the most devoted love, and his 
friends, especially Sir Edward Malet and Mr. Sheffield, were held by 
him in an affection which they on their side returned with interest. 
They became inseparable. 

" It was Lord Lyons's fate," writes Lord Newton, " to represent 
this country at most critical periods during wars in the course of 
which England, while desiring to observe the strictest neutrahty, 
aroused the bitterest hostility on the part of the belligerents."* 
These words contain no exaggeration. 

His prudence, patience, and self-restraint steered the ship through 
many hidden dangers. There is an old saw which runs : " Blessed 
is the minister who does not make history." It is given to few men 
to make history ; it is given to still fewer to prevent others from 
making it. These are the greatest of all, and it is among them that 
Lord Lyons takes an honoured place. 

* " The Life of Lord Lyons," by Lord Newton. 2 vols. Edwani 
Arnold, 1913. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE WEDDING OF THE PRINCE OF WALES 

ON the loth of March, 1863, I had the honour to be present at 
the wedding of the Prince of Wales in St. George's Chapel 
at Windsor. A number of extra gentlemen-ushers were appointed 
for the occasion, and by the kindness of Sir Spencer Ponsonby Fane 
always a good friend to me, I was one of them. It was a magnificent 
sight, something to remember for a life-time. The streets of 
Windsor and all the approaches to St. George's inside the glorious 
old Castle were thronged with people radiating the happiness of 
the day — the Eton boys of course in full strength; ready to cheer 
till their loyal throats should burst. All that was greatest and 
noblest in the land was present in the Chapel ; there cannot be 
many people still alive who were there, for of course the guests 
were all of them men who had already made their mark in the 
world; and even of those who were on duty, I was probably the 
youngest. Happy the bride upon whom the sun shines ! It was a 
bitterly cold day, but bright, and a life-giving sun, blazing through 
the stained-glass windows, shone upon a gorgeous display of glittering 
uniforms ; the banners hanging from the Garter Knights' stalls,^ 
the tabards of the heralds, the gold coats of the state trumpeters 
combining with the brilliant gowns and flashing diamonds of the 
ladies, made such a riotous feast of colour as the world could hardly 
match. 

The procession of the Knights of the Garter ought to have been 

an imposing spectacle, but the good Knights, arrayed in their blue 

velvet robes, resplendent with their golden collars and stars, instead 

of marching decorously two and two with a suitably solemn space 

VOL. I 161 II 



102 Memories 



between the pairs, had contrived to club themselves into a clumsy 
knot made up of figures of various sizes and shapes in which they 
looked anything but dignified, the tall and stately Lord Shaftes- 
bury towering over the puny form of Lord Russell. They badly 
needed a stage-manager. 

The trumpets bray out triuijiphantly announcing the procession 
of the Bridegroom, stately, solemn, full of dignity. 

Once more the tnmipets. Amidst all the glory of that wonderful 
day nothing could equal the procession of the Bride. The touching 
tenderness of her girlish, rosebud beauty and graceful figure, as she 
passed up the nave, her eyes shyly downcast, looked like the vision 
of the Princess of a Fairy Tale. Her entry into London had been 
the triumph of a conqueress — ^her entry into St. George's Chapel 
was the assumption of a Queendom over the hearts of England 
from which nothing can ever dethrone her. 

It was a sad sight to see the great Queen, then only entering into 
middle age, looking down from her gallery to bless her son's happi- 
ness ! When the trumpets heralded the Wedding March amid the 
clatter of arms of the saluting Guards, the pealing of the organ, the 
roll of the kettledrums, and the roaring salvoes of artillery, it wa§ 
impossible not to feel that her thoughts must be travelling back to 
the death-chamber hard by, where, some fifteen months earUer, 
she entered upon the long, lonely years of her widowhood. Half 
hidden, her pathetic figure struck the one sad note, the memenio mori, 
in all that frenzy of rejoicing, all that radiance of pomp and 
splendour, the celebration of a nation's sympathy with a well-beloved 
Prince. 

Perhaps I ought rather to say a Prince whom the people 
were ready to take to their hearts ; for he was still a lad, and 
had not yet had the chance of showing what he really was 
worth. 

At the risk of forestalling such story as I have to tell I would 
fain insert here a slight attempt at an appreciation of that young 
bridegroom as he appeared in later life and dliring his too short 
reign as King. A comparison of the power exercised by him and 
that of the great Mbther whom he succeeded almost inevitably 
comes within the scope of such an endeavour. 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 163 



It is one of the penalties of a high position that whereas the 
failings of those who occupy it are apt to be viewed through a 
magnifying glass, their good qualities are too often examined 
through the wrong end of a telescope. Even those whose nature 
and knowledge would prompt them to deal out praise in full 
measure, speak under the restraint of a reticence the motives of 
which are not difficult to understand ; and the more exalted the 
subject of this post-morten examination of character, the more 
severe is that restraint almost bound to be. 

Obituary notices of King Edward the Seventh have been 
plentiful enough. The two most important appreciations of him 
have been Sir Sidney Lee's, in the " Dictionary of National Bio- 
graphy," and the two essays in Lord Esher's recently published 
book, entitled, " The Influence of King Edward." It is hardly 
necessary to say that the two views of King Edward's character 
differ toto coelo. But then, whereas Sir Sidney Lee had no intimate 
knowledge of the King, Lord Esher describes a man with whom 
he lived for many years in that confidential intimacy which Dr. 
Johnson held to be the necessary condition for writing a good bio- 
graphy. The worst of it is that though Lord Esher's book will 
be widely read now, it is bound to share the fate of all books, 
which like men, have their day and then die. Habeni sua fata 
libelli. With the " Dictionary of National Biography " the case is 
different : that will remain on the shelves of every library, public 
and private, for many generations, and will be consulted as an 
authority long after the writers, like their subjects, shall have faded 
into the misty land of ghosts. That is why articles in such an 
important book of reference should be subjected before publica- 
tion to the strictest and most impartial examination. Afterwards 
it is no use. " The written word stands." Even should Sir 
Sidney Lee himself, in the fuller life of King Edward upon 
which he is said to be engaged, endeavour to modify, soften, or 
even contradict some of the statements in his article, it will not 
be possible for him to correct the false impression which those 
pages will create in the minds of men of a future generation. 
Historians will turn to them and will say that since this was written 
immediately after the tragedy of 1910 by so eminent a man of 

VOL. I II* 



164 Memories 



letters, it must represent the contemporary judgment of the King's 
jiersonality. Great is the responsibility. 

The picture which Lord Esher gives of the childhood and boy- 
hood of the Prince of Wales under the somewhat austere and 
strict tutelage of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort cannot 
but fill his readers with sympathy. Here was a child, a boy, a 
young lad, hedged round by rules and regulations which must 
have pressed upon him like a strait-waistcoat. Ardent and full 
of the highest spirits, he was cramped by such a discipline as merci- 
fully none of us have known. What would the boy not have 
^ven for a game of football ? How he would have loved to drive 
a cricket ball over the boundary ! He, whom I have seen as a 
man of fifty, booted and skated, keenly playing a game of hockey 
on the ice ? No games were there for him, no free association 
with playmates of his own age. A boy or two, carefully selected, 
sent up to Windsor from Eton to stand about in hopeless shyness 
in the presence of tutors, or even under THE Eye. 

He was sent to Oxford, but strict care was taken that he should 
have no part in the life of the university. He might hear lectures 
— he might see nothing. It was as if you were to send a lad to 
the theatre and set him down in a stall with his back to the stage. 

The first time that I saw the Prince of Wales was when, his 
father brought him to Eton as a little boy of twelve to hear the 
" speeches " on the Fourth of June. What a diversion for a child 
of his age, to listen to us sixth form boys spouting Demosthenes, 
^schylus, Cicero ! I can see his poor bored little face now. It 
was pitiful. He is accused of never having been bookish. How 
could he be when, like Swinburne, he was never allowed to read 
even Walter Scott's novels ? Swinburne, however, when he came 
to Eton quickly emancipated himself. The Prince of Wales never 
had a chance of reading as a boy, and later in life he had no more 
time than was needed for studying the newspapers, which he did 
most conscientiously. Not upon him alone was the grip of the 
iron hand clenched. The instructions to his Governor, to his 
tutors, to the gentlemen-in-waiting — authentic documents cited 
by Lord Esher — ^make one feel the choking atmosphere of boredom 
through which the Prince struggled into manhood. 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 165 

How the kindly, genial Prince, who was to develop into what 
Dr. Johnson called a " clubable " man, must have chafed under 
this prison treatment ! How he must have longed for emanci- 
pation ! He had a temporary foretaste of it when in 1861 he joined 
the Grenadier Guards* at the Curragh. He always looked back 
with pleasure upon that short soldierly experience. 

When we think of the very strict severity of the Prince Consort, 
and when we remember the great part which he played as the 
Queen's confidential political adviser, notably in the Trent affair, 
where his wisdom helped to soften the asperities which Lord 
Russell had aroused in the United States, we are apt to forget how 
young he was when on the 14th of December, 1861, he died — barely 
forty-two years of age. 

He had not always been popular, and the world had been jealous 
of his interference in public affairs ; but all those jealousies were 
soon forgotten and the Prince's worth was realized after his death. 
That cruel sorrow gave the Queen an opportunity of using the 
Prince of Wales in his father's place, making him her confidant 
and private secretary, and guiding him through the labyrinths of 
that constitutional lore of which she was such a mistress. Need- 
less to say, the opportunity was not made use of. On the contrary, 
in spite of the advice of more than one minister — notably of Mr. 
Gladstone — the Queen politically held her eldest son at arm's 
length. 

It was not until a few years before her death that he, already a 
middle-aged man of fifty, was allowed access to State papers. Shut 
out as he was from any participation in public affairs, his great 
activities were turned into two channels — social and ceremonial, 
and most admirably he fulfilled those very wearisome duties of 
royalty of which he relieved the Queen, who from that time forth 
worked diligently, devotedly, but unseen. Indeed her life was 
wrecked. She had accustomed herself to lean upon her husband, 
who had been her lover, her guide, and her adviser for twenty- 
one years of a marriage which had been blessed with a happiness 
rarely found in a station of life where love matches are the 

* Not the loth Hussaxs, as Sir Sidney Lee has it. Of the loth he was 
titular Colonel-in-Chief . iS 



1 66 Memories 



exception. To the outside world he might seem stiff and formal. 
The prescriptions of a small German Court would account for 
that ; but to her he was always gentle, kind, sympathetic. He 
was an exceptional man ; tall and of a commanding figure, strik- 
ingly handsome, highly educated, accomplished, judicious ; he 
lacked but one quality — that of geniality — to make him universally 
popular, and even that was no misfortune, for it may have saved 
him from stumbling into those pitfalls with which the path of 
men so gifted, especially when they are in a commanding station, 
is beset. 

One side of his nature was curious. He was essentially a shy 
man. He would enter a room to meet some visitor whom he had 
summoned, sidling up, as it were, along two walls of it before 
stepping forward to hold out his hand. That same shyness accounts 
for a good deal in his character ; for its aloofness and, above all, 
for an apparent dislike, strange in so able a man, to surround 
himself with all that was best and most distinguished in science 
and art. Such men as Darwin, Huxley, Hooker, Tyndall were 
practically unknown to him. He preferred the second rate. So 
in Art, as portrait painter, he was satisfied with Landseer and 
Winterhalter. Landseer no doubt was an excellent delineator of 
dogs and deer, but it did not seem to occur to the Prince that a 
man might be a first-rate painter of animal life and yet fail signally 
with Kings and Queens. As regards Winterhalter, it is the world's 
misfortune that the portraits of the principal personages who made 
the history of the fifties and sixties of the last century should have 
been practically his monopoly. 

With music, especially sacred music and the Opera, there was 
great sympathy at Court. The Prince was an accomplished and 
scientific musician and the Queen had a lovely voice which was 
well-trained by that wonderful old singer Lablache. But for 
Literature there appeared to be no place. I have a sort of recollec- 
tion that Dickens was once sent for to Buckingham Palace, but 
that was not until 1870, the year of his death. The Prince was 
greatly pleased with Thackeray's " May-day Ode " on the opening 
of the Exhibition of 1851, and he loved Tennyson's " Idylls of^the 
King," — they aroused in him the ideal of the chivalry which he 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 167 



worshipped. But there the matter ended, there was no literary 
society, no love of books. The Prince and the Queen were absorbed 
in politics, and their relaxation was taken 'n other directions, such 
as the theatre and the Opera. 

I dwell upon all this because I am anxious to show how King 
Edward's up-bringing accounted for that indifference to books 
with which his biographers have taxed him. It is the fashion to 
talk with contempt of what is called the Early Victorian Era. In 
Letters, at any rate, the reproach is undeserved. There was no 
lack of considerable men. Putting on one side the three great names 
that I have already cited, we had Carlyle, Browning, Froude, George 
Eliot, the Brontes, Ruskin and others. In the memorandum for 
the guidance of the gentlemen appointed to attend on the Prince 
of Wales they are told to encourage the Prince " to devote some 
of his leisure time to music, to the fine arts, either drawing or looking 
over drawings, engravings, etc., to hearing poetry, amusing books 
or good books read aloud ! " But of that delightful solitary com- 
miming with books which are the living souls of great men — such 
books as those written by the contemporaries of whom I have 
spoken, there is not a word. 

Fancy an ardent boy of seventeen spending his leisure time in 
turning over books of drawings and prints ! Would it not be 
mental starvation ? How much more human would it be for a boy 
to read " Pickwick," " Martin Chuzzlewit," " Vanity Fair," " Scenes 
from Clerical Life," " The Princess," " Jane Eyre " ! 

For my part I would far rather see a son of mine frown over the 
savagery of Mr. Rochester, or laugh at Mrs. Gamp and Mr. Pecksniff, 
than waste smiles of young-lady-like admiration upon Retsch's 
outlines or the " Keepsake." But the whole memorandum is one 
of the strangest of documents, reading as if it had been composed 
for the use and guidance of a seminary for young ladies. 

There can hardly ever have been so self-contained a Court as that 
of the Queen and Prince Consort in the early days of their married 
life. Outside of the Ladies- and Gentlemen-in- Waiting there were 
very few intimates. Of these the chief was Baron Stockmar, the 
retired physician, who had been Court Doctor to King Leopold 
and the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and who afterwards became 



1 68 Memories 



mentor and political tutor to Prince Albert. At Windsor or Buck- 
ingham Palace he came and went as he pleased ; his room was 
always ready and he was always welcome. As to that, there was 
not a little jealousy, and that jealousy was accentuated by his 
privileges, notably in that whereas the English grandees had to wear 
knee-breeches and silk stockings, the Baron was allowed to encase 
his lean and shrivelled limbs in the warmth of trousers ! A terrible 
outrage, intolerable to the said grandees ; the intimacy was bad 
enough, but the trousers were galling ! 

Another welcome guest was the Prussian Minister, Baron de 
Bunsen, a really remarkable man. But perhaps the friend who 
came next to old Baron Stockmar in the estimation, or perhaps I 
might say affection, of the Prince Consort, was M. Sylvain Van 
de Weyer, the Belgian Minister, who was not only a diplomatist 
of conspicuous ability, but also a bibliophile and an accomplished 
man of letters. He was one of the most agreeable men that I ever 
knew, and the power of his personal charm upon the Court was 
enhanced by the fact that he was the representative of the dearly- 
loved and venerated uncle both of the Queen and Prince. 

The English statesmen were invited for short visits to Windsor 
or to dinner at Buckingham Palace, and, as was necessary, there was 
a Minister in attendance at Balmoral or Osborne, but after Lord 
Melbourne and until Lord Beaconsfield's time, long after the death 
of the Prince Consort, who had no liking for him, there was no 
familiar intercourse with any Cabinet, Whig or Tory. Both the Queen 
and the Prince Consort worked indefatigably, but it was chiefly 
desk work — work in the dark. 

The long, silent night of sorrow in which the Queen spent the 
forty years which remained to her after the death of the husband 
who had been the dayspring and the bright glory of her life, more 
than ever estranged her from taking any delight in that personal 
intercourse which is the chief lure of society. 

I remember as a boy seeing a drawing which impressed me greatly. 
On a mountain-top sat a solitary female figure, draped in black — 
was she a Sibyl, a Witch, a Nom ? I know not. Her face rested 
on her right hand and her weary, yearning eyes looked out upon 
the world beneath her, a figure of mystery mounting guard. Queen 



The Wedding ot the Prince of Wales 169 

Victoria in her loneliness, watching from on high over the welfare 
of her people, reminded me of that tragic figure. She was one of 
those " Princes " who, as Bacon said, " do keep due sentinel." 

When the Prince of Wales assumed the toga virilis, his emanci- 
pation heralded a new epoch in the social life of England ; but it 
was not until two or three years after his marriage that its full 
effect was felt. 

Under the new dispensation the hospitalities at Marlborough 
House and Sandringham were lavishly magnificent, while the small 
and very intimate society at Abergeldie was delightful. The 
Prince of Wales and the Princess shone as host and hostess : both 
delighted in being surroimded by their friends, and naturally in 
their position it was easy for them to gather together all the most 
brilliant and most distinguished people, some of whom would even 
travel from across the Channel to be present at entertainments 
the splendour of which became famous. 

These may seem at first sight to be trivial matters, yet they had 
their significance. We must remember that when the Prince of 
Wales married he was very young— only just twenty-one. He was 
full of high spirits and endowed with a vitality such as I have 
rarely seen equalled. He was debarred, as I have said above, 
from helping his mother in her public work, and he could only find 
an outlet for his marvellous energies in what might have been barren 
pleasures, had he not used them as means of becoming intimate with 
some of the older and more prominent of the ministers and states- 
men of both parties. 

The invitations to Marlborough House and Sandringham were by 
no means confined to the butterflies of society. As often as not the 
Prince might be seen standing apart in earnest talk with some such 
man as Lord Granville, Lord Clarendon, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Dis- 
raeli, Bishop WUberforce, one of the great diplomatists, Delane, 
Billy Russell the famous War Correspondent, Generals, Admirals, 
men of science. But why dwell upon this ? It is well known that 
it was through conversation and the Press that the Prince acquired 
that marvellous fund of information which enabled him to hold his 
own in any company. 

His memory was phenomenal : he seemed unable to forget. The 



I/O Memories 



business of Kingcraft is not one that it is easy to learn. It is im- 
possible for a King to specialize in any one subject ; but he must be 
sufficiently posted in the trades of all sorts and conditions of men to 
be able to discuss intelligently the subjects upon which they have to 
address him. This King Edward did to perfection, and we must 
remember that this power was not acquired all of a sudden, like a 
miracle conferred upon him by anointment at his coronation ; it 
was the result of long years of patient listening and inquiry — of 
those same long years which his detractors would have us believe 
were spent to exhaustion in the pursuit of frivolous occupations, 
and in the selfish sacrifice of duty to pleasure. No more false charge 
was ever brought against a man in his exalted position. 

That he was the acknowledged leader in the society of which he 
was the darling is perfectly true. It is also true that he spared no 
pains to promote the pleasure of others. But however late he 
might stay at some entertainment or at the Marlborough Club, he 
was up again at earliest dawn to attend a review at Aldershotor 
Spithead, or take part in a ceremonial in some distant part of the 
coimtry, where he would appear as gay and as pleased as if he was 
fulfilling the one ambition of his life. His strength was wonderful ; 
he knew not fatigue. That was an immense help to him. Later 
in life he allowed himself more rest ; but as a young man he seemed 
to be almost independent of sleep. 

It has been said, cynically enough, that a King has no friends. 
That might be the case with a Roi Soleil who divided mankind into 
three categories — Royal personages, white men, and black men. 
Our King, on the contrary, was so full of human s5Tnpathy and 
loving-kindness for others, that he won for himself an affection 
such as is given to few men in any position. 

I remember in the quite early days of the Marlborough Club, in 
1870, I was standing talking with a friend who died not long since, 
an old admiral. Close by was a knot of men in the heyday of youth, 
with the Prince in the centre, a happy, joyous bcind, he the choragus 
of the fun and merriment. My friend turned to me and said : 
" See ! Is there one of those men who would not lay down his lite 
for him ? " That was true of him in those youthful days, an^ it 
remained true to the end. 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 171 



And now I must skip many years, because I am anxious to show 
how wrong it is to suppose that King Edward shirked work. 

One night I was dining at the Club, after King Edward had come 
to the throne, but before he had moved from Marlborough House 
into Buckingham Palace. He knew that I was in London for two 
or three days alone, so he sent over to ask whether I was at the 
Qub, and if so to bid me go across to him. I found him in his 
private sitting-room, all alone, and we sat smoking and talking 
over old times for a couple of hours. Towards midnight he got up 
and said : " Now I must bid you good-night, for I must set to 
work " — pointing to a huge pile of the familiar red boxes. 
" Surely," I said, " your Majesty is not going to tackle all that 
work to-night ! " His answer was : " Yes, I must ! Besides, it is 
all so interesting ; " and then he gave me one of his happy smiles 
and I left him. " So interesting ! " — that was the frame of mind in 
which he faced his work — he, the man who we are expected to 
believe could not be brought to attend to business ! 

I have no desire to speak unfairly of the article in the " National 
Biography." In many passages it lavishly praises some of the great 
qualities of the King, and yet the general impression conveyed is 
unfortunate. The reader of the future — and it is for the future 
far more than for the present that such an estimate has importance — 
will rise from the study of this biography with an altogether false 
appreciation of its subject. He will see in it the portrait of a man 
with many lovable characteristics, indeed, but with little concep- 
tion of the high functions to which he was called ; he will see a 
Prince self-indulgent, impatient of duty, with little political acumen 
even in those matters of foreign policy in which he took the highest 
interest ; giving little concern to home affairs, " unremitting in his 
devotion to social pleasures " ; showing " aloofness from the work- 
ing of politics and a certain disinclination hastily to adopt his private 
plans to political emergencies." I hope to show that it is in his 
more favourable comments that Sir Sidney Lee is right, though 
unfortunately in his hands the beam inclines too much on the 
wrong side. 

The King's tact, his magically conciliatory charm, a power of 
fascination which can rarely have been equalled, his judgment oi 



1 72 Memories 



men, have been universally acknowledged. He carried into public 
affairs a sympathy and kindliness which bore rich fruit. He could 
feel with a Gambetta as he could feel with the proud chieftain of the 
Hapsburgs. To a Scottish manse, to a Norfolk parsonage, he could 
carry the sympathy of a friend, the true message of love. He could 
enter into the troubles of a humble cottager on his estate with as 
much interest as he could listen to the family difficulties of a Duke. 
Above all, he could forgive, and that is perhaps the rarest of human 
powers. Those who know could cite more than one instance of its 
exercise. Nor was all this confined to mere words. He would 
spend himself on behalf of a friend, he would labour to see righted 
some poor wretch who he thought was being treated unjustly. His 
courage was beyond proof. 

Such was the King as I knew him, and I am not alone in my esti- 
mate of him : Sir William Harcourt, a good judge and surely no 
sycophant, said of him that he was the greatest King of England 
since William the Conqueror. A burning Radical came away from 
his first interview with him, saying : " That is the greatest man 
that ever I had speech of." That man knew him better later, but 
he never altered his opinion. 

To one feature in the King's character I must reverently allude. 
He was a convinced Christian, devoutly observing all the ordinances 
of the Church. In Scotland he regularly attended the Parish Kirk 
at Crathie. I can call to mind one Sunday at Abergeldie in 1870 
when so fierce a storm was blustering outside that it was impossible 
to leave the Castle. The Prince, then a very young man, read the 
Church of England's service at home. Never did I hear that 
beautiful liturgy more impressively read. The music of his voice, 
the perfect diction — so conspicuous in his public utterances — gave 
value to every word of those inspired prayers. They struck home. 
The devotional sense, obviously genuine and true, would have been 
contagious in a crowded cathedral. It was no less so in the little 
room in the old grey castle ; he made us feel with him. 

There is a charge brought against him in the " National Bio- 
graphy " (after he had moimted the throne, mark you !) that " at 
times he enjoyed practical joking at the expense of his friends." 
Nothing could be more misleading. When he was a very yoimg 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 173 

man — a mere boy — he would laugh at the wild pranks of some of 
the youngsters by whom he was surrounded. What could be more 
natural ? They might play tricks upon one another, but never 
either as Prince or King did I, during nearly half a century, see him 
take active part in any such games himself. He was always mindful 
of his dignity, and for many years before he came to the throne I 
can affirm with certainty that no such tricks would have been 
permitted in his presence. 

My recollection of the King which I wish to place on record is 
that of a character made up of various qualities — a monarch deeply 
impressed with the duties and obligations of his exalted station ; 
a man intensely human, and, let his critics say what they will, alto 
gether lovable. 

The death of Queen Victoria on the 21st of January, 1901, was 
not unexpected, and yet she had been so long the figure-head of 
the Constitution that when the blow came it was felt as a shock. 
It was not only the death of a great monarch, it was the death of 
an epoch, the Finis and Colophon of a long and very important 
chapter in our history. The Queen had out-lived the long list of 
politicians who, during the sixty-four years of her reign, had helped 
to shape the destinies of Great Britain. Lord Melbourne, who won 
the confidence and trained the mind of the young girl who was so 
early summoned to her high office ; Lord Grey, Sir Robert Peel, 
Lord Russell, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, Lord Beaconsfield, 
Mr. Gladstone, were all gone. Of her other two Prime Ministers, 
the great Lord Salisbury was yet three years short of reaching the 
dignity of an Eton jacket when she came to the throne ; Lord 
Rosebery's mother had been one of her bridesmaids. 

The early death of the Prince Consort had deprived her of her 
one intimate adviser, her one trusty friend, and for forty years 
she remained a lonely figure, widowed, and more than widowed, 
for her exalted station deprived her of the companionship which 
humbler people can enjoy. She had few friends, mostly ladies who 
had been with her in the happier days of her life. Among these, 
perhaps the chief were the Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Ely, Lady 
Churchill and Lady Augusta Stanley. These all died before her— 
her last confidante was Lady Churchill, who predeceased her only 



1 74 Memories 

by a few days. Her trusty friends, Sir Charles Phipps, Sir Thomas 
Biddulph and Sir Charles Grey, were long since dead. Sir Henry 
Ponsonby, her devoted and brilliant private secretary, who for so 
many years had served her most faithfully, died in 1895. Two 
excellent servants she had in Lord Stamfordham and Sir Fleetwood 
Edwardes, but she would not have been human had she not felt 
her solitude. Outliving is the curse of old age. Nor was it 
only among her own personal attendants that the Queen paid 
the tribute of sorrow which is the penalty of a long life. 
Two of her sons and one of her daughters predeceased her. 
Th« gallant Emperor Frederick, her much loved son-in-law, 
had died in 1888, her grandson, the Duke of Clarence, in 
1892. The Ashanti War led to the death of another son-in- 
law. Prince Henry of Battenberg, in 1896. These are what may 
be called unnatural sorrows, though, unfortunately, they are 
common enough. That we should bury our fathers, though the 
grief be bitter and the loss irreparable, is in the ordinary course of 
nature ; to bury our sons seems a cruel reversal of all fitness. 

Through those long, solitary years the Queen performed the 
duties of her Queenship with unflagging zeal and devotion, though 
she remained a mystery, felt but invisible. The people, though 
they would fain have had more opportunities of seeing her, respected 
her seclusion, knowing the value of their Sovereign, and proud of 
the successes of her reign. She came to the throne at a moment 
when the Crown was anjTthing but popular. George the Fourth 
had greatly estranged his subjects, and William the Fourth was 
not the man to raise enthusiasm from the dead. That was reserved 
for a young Princess who was literally called out of her sleep to 
enter upon her high position when she was only eighteen years 
of age — a mere chUd. She made the people feel the value of a 
monarchy, and so, in the earthquake of 1848, when other thrones 
were tottering and falling, hers was as firm as a rock. Such slight 
disturbances as there were hardly excited alarm, and the Chartist 
rising, though important, was not an actual danger to the throne. 

Itf^was memorable as giving occasion for a curious episode in 
history, when Prince Louis Napol6on enlisted as special constable 
andi,was^ongduty with my father in the churchyard in Mount Street. 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 175 



Queen Victoria was indeed the embodiment of the monarchical 
principle, an inheritance which she bequeathed to her son and 
grandson, both of whom have raised a glorious edifice upon the 
foundation which she laid. 

When the Queen died the mourning was honest and sincere. 



The crown which Queen Victoria had brightened by long con- 
stancy to duty was now firmly rooted in the instincts of the people. 
In so far as that was concerned, the new King might be said 
to have an easier part to play at his accession than she had. In 
spite of that he had to face an arduous task. In the two suc- 
cessions the positions were reversed. In her case there was no 
trouble or danger abroad. Her difficulties lay at home. In King 
Edward's case the difficulties were over the sea. The power of 
the South African Republic was broken, and that grand, patriotic 
soldier. Lord Roberts, who laid aside the greatest private sorrow 
that can break a man's heart in order to do his public duty, had 
come home to receive at the hands of the Queen the highest reward 
which it was in her power to bestow. The earldom and the Garter 
were never more gloriously earned. But it was not until the 31st 
of May of the following year that peace was signed. 

On the Continent of Europe the jealousy of England was virulent, 
and the Boer War, purposely misrepresented and misunderstood, 
was used to aggravate the poison of a disease which needed the most 
patient and delicate treatment. It was with this that King Edward 
markedly busied himself. It was no easy task— especially in 
Germany. The Kaiser had been not only a great admirer of his 
grandmother, but he, as I verily believe, honestly loved her. He 
came over to England to attend her death-bed. He lost no oppor- 
tunity afterwards of bearing witness to his respect for her. Towards 
his uncle. King Edward, he entertained no such feeling. That is 
a matter of common knowledge. There had been, no doubt, 
differences — ^never amounting to quarrels — between them. They 
were not in sympathy, and it says much for King Edward's power 
of conciliation that by his endeavour " the rough ways were made 
smooth." Unfortunately the great rent was only a question of time. 



I "jd Memories 



The King's visits to the Continent are treated in no friendly spirit 
by the " Dictionary of National Biography," which even goes out 
of its way to belittle the part which he played in public work 
abroad as at home. Speaking of his visits to Paris, the writer says : 
" Political principles counted for little in his social intercourse . . 
a modest estimate was set on his political acumen when in informal 
talk he travelled beyond safe generalities." But perhaps no word 
of a serious writer on history, or biography, which is, or should 
be, history, by whomsoever that word may have been inspired, 
ever more swiftly received material contradiction than the follow- 
ing: "An irresponsible suggestion at a private party in Paris 
that the entente ought to be converted into a military alliance 
met with no response." The response is loud enough to-day in the 
dunes of Flanders, on the Vistula, in the Carpathians, and in the 
Dardanelles. 

When King Edward travelled he was carrying out the practice of 
the great foreign statesmen who were wont to take their holidays, or 
at any rate part of them, at some foreign watering-place like Gastein, 
Marienbad, Carlsbad or Homburg, where the Prime Ministers of 
the various countries met and exchanged views. That was the 
habit of the mighty Bismarck himself. Our own statesmen 
neglected this until the late Lord Salisbury undertook his famous 
journey through Europe in order to become acquainted and confer 
with the ministers of foreign Powers. This abstinence on the part of 
the English leaders undoubtedly placed them at a disadvantage 
when the great international questions were discussed. Men 
like Bismarck and Andrassy had travelled over one another's 
mi ds, and each knew exactly how best to tackle the other. 
Our men went to a conference primed with technicalities which 
are apt to become ineptitude^ when the personal factor is 
excluded. 

King Edward relied greatly on that personal factor, and he ob- 
tained a more intimate knowledge of the ruling men in France, 
Germany, Austria and Italy, not to speak of lesser Powers, than was 
possessed by any other English statesman. 

In connection with the charge of want of political acumen and 
indifference to books upon which so much stress has been laid, 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales i77 

a very eminent French statesman, who knew the King well and had 
many opportunities of judging him, writes to me as follows : 

" Pour juger le feu Roi il faut I'avoir vu de pres et I'avoir 
frequente dans les moments difficOes. Alors on pouvait se rendre 
con^pte de la force de son caract^re et de la justesse de son esprit. 
J'ai ete le t^moin le plus attentif de tout ce qu'il a fait pour amener 
le rapprochement de la France et de I'Angleterre, et de la t^nacite 
qu'il a apport^e dans la poursuite d'une politique que certaines 
personnes trouvaient un peu precipitee. Mais il connaissait mieux 
la France que personne en Angleterre et il savait ce qu'il pouvait 
oser. Je lui etais tres attache parceque je savais tout ce qu'il 
valait — c'etait un homme d'etat — on n'apprend pas dans les 
livres a etre un homme d'etat ; on Test naturellement et rien ne 
donne a ceux qui ne les possedent pas les qualites de decision et 
de perspicacite necessaires pour entreprendre de grandes choses." 

This spontaneous tribute of one great statesman to the merits 
of another is a sufficient refutation of much that has in ignorance 
been imputed to King Edward. 

That he was immensely popular in France is certain. French- 
men looked upon him as a true friend, and in society he was said 
to be " le plus Parisien des Parisiens " ; a leading Royalist once 
said to me, " Tell your King that if ever he is tired of his job in 
England, we will take him by acclamation." The fact that he was 
beloved by the more frivolous sets did not prevent his being re- 
spected by the serious politicians. It is idle to suppose that men 
like Gambetta, Clemenceau, Hanotaux, Pichon, Delcasse and others 
who were wrapt in affairs, sought his society as that of a mere man 
of pleasure, a mere Royal houlevardier such as the Prince of Orange. 
Like Sir WDliam Harcourt and others of our own leaders on both 
sides in politics, they formed a higher estimate of his worth than 
that which unfortunately will be handed down in the " Dictionary." 

The German Press, as Sir Sidney Lee himself points out, took 
a very different view from his of the King's visits to foreign poten- 
tates. They were far from thinking him to be the negligible quantity 
in politics that Sir Sidney Lee describes. Believing him to be an 

VOL. I 12 



17^ Memories 



enemy, they looked upon him as a dangerous one. If he paid a 
visit to the King of Italy it was a deadly machination to disunite 
the Triple Alliance. If he met his near relation, the Emperor of 
Russia, at Reval or Cowes, it was with the view of soldering an 
entente between England, France and Russia, and converting it 
into an alliance, offensive and defensive, aimed at Germany. In 
all that the King did there was a sinister motive, a continuous 
Machiavellian intrigue with one solid object. 

The imputation of malevolence was based on fallacy, as Sir Sidney 
Lee shows, but the attitude of the German Press ought to have 
taught a great writer that if highly instructed publicists attached 
such importance to the King's participation in affairs, however 
false might be the motives ascribed, his own appreciation of it 
might possibly be open to correction, and could not fail to create 
a wrong impression upon future students of history. 

The relations between the King alid the Emperor of Austria 
were in the highest degree cordial— and no wonder. For the old 
Emperor, the venerable man whose life had been so cruelly pur- 
sued by the Fates, the King, like everybody who had a heart, felt 
the most profound sympathy, which in his case amounted to 
affection. The betrayal of 1908, when Baron iErenthal annexed 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, making the Treaty of Berlin into " a 
scrap of paper," and, borrowing a phrase from Kant, justified his 
action as a " categorical imperative," was a violent shock to King 
Edward. 

It was on the 8th of October that the King received the news at 
Balmoral, and no one who was there can forget how terribly he was 
upset. Never did I see him so moved. He had paid the Emperor 
of Austria a visit at Ischl less than two months before. The meeting 
had been friendly and affectionate, ending with a hearty " auf 
baldiges Wiedersehen." Baron ^renthal had been with the 
Emperor, Sir Charies Hardinge with King Edward. The two 
Sovereigns and the two statesmen had discussed the Eastern 
Question — especially the Balkan difficulties — with the utmost 
apparent intimacy, and the King left Ischl in the full assurance 
that there was no cloud on the horizon. Now, without a word of 
warning, all was changed. The King was indignant, for nobody 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 179 



knew better than he did the danger of tampering with the provisions 
of the Treaty of Beriin, and he saw that to make any change in the 
Turkish provinces was to light a fuse which, sooner or later, was 
bound to fire a powder magazine. Personally, the King felt that 
he had been treacherously deceived. His forecast of the danger, 
which he communicated at the time to me, showed him to be 
possessed of that prevision which marks the statesman. Every 
word that he uttered that day has come true. 

At the outset of King Edward's reign we heard a good deal of 
our " splendid isolation." It was a clever catchword of defiance, 
invented by a supremely brilliant statesman, but it did not help to 
make matters pleasanter or safer. Germany hated and envied 
us ; France suspegted us ; Russia looked upon us as the hidden 
enemy, lurking by night. When the King died all was changed. 
I am far from saying that the more friendly feelings which prevailed 
were entirely due to his initiation ; but I do say that without the 
wonderful influence and personal charm which he exerted they 
would not have existed. He fully recognized his limitations as a 
Constitutional monarch ; it was not for him to start aUiances ; 
but he made them possible. There were Ministers before his 
time ; could they have removed obstacles and softened asperities 
as he did ? He knew, moreover, that no Sovereign, no Government, 
could utter a coraimand like that of the first day of creation : " Let 
there be peace." He knew that he must work for it, and he did — 
incessantly. To the world's sorrow another monarch in another 
country has said, " Let there be war ! " and there was war. 

The signing of the peace in South Africa on the 31st of May, 
1902, came as a fitting Coronation present to the King. The 
ceremony had been fixed for the 26th of June ; but a day or two 
before that date ugly rumours began to be whispered through the 
town as to the King's health. He was so anxious that nothing 
should occur to prevent the Coronation from taking place, which, 
he felt, must create the greatest disappointment and inconvenience 
to thousands of people, that he enjoined upon those about him 
the strictest secrecy as to his condition, and it was not until Sir 
Francis Laking told him that if he attempted to face the fatigue 
he might even die in the Abbey, pointing out what a tragedy that 
VOL. I 12* 



^^° Memories 

would be, that he was at last persuaded to postpone the Coronation. 
Even so, mindful, as always, of others, he commanded that the 
honours which were to be conferred should not be delayed by his 
illness. The secret of the operation was well kept, for the public 
and even the King's friends knew nothing of it until the 24th, the 
day upon which the operation took place. 

There was a great flower show of the Horticultural Society at 
Holland Park that afTernoon. The band of the Blues had been 
engaged. Mr. Godfrey, the bandmaster, came up to me and said 
that he had not half his men. The troops were confined to bar- 
racks — and he had with him only the married men who lived out ; 
and then he told me what had happened. I rushed off and called 
a hansom (there were no taxis till foior or five years later) and 
drove to Buckingham Palace for news. The account was good 
so far as it went, but the danger was still acute. It would be 
difficult to exaggerate the anxiety which was felt all over England, 
but mercifully the bulletins improved from day to day : the 
King recovered and the Coronation took place on the 9th of August. 
It was a great anxiety for all those who loved the King — and 
who was there in all that vast assembly, or indeed throughout 
England, that did not love him ? — but he bore the strain splendidly 
and all was well. 

The glories of the Coronation have been described by abler 
pens than mine ; with them I dare not compete. Great as West- 
minster Abbey is, full of immemorial traditions, it can never have 
looked more splendid than it did on that day when Princes, Peers 
and Commoners, subjects from lands lying far away across the 
seas, were all gathered together to acclaim their King. Never 
before in the history of man had such a world's gathering been 
brought under one roof. And when we listened to the salvoes of 
artillery, and remembered that eight thousand miles beneath 
our feet the booming of the cannon was thundering out the joy 
of men in the Antipodes who were fellow-subjects with us, we 
felt the power of which that royal figure on the throne was the 
symbol. 

One touching episode will never be forgotten. When the 
venerable Archbishop of Canterbury did homage, he was weak 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales i8i 

and tired and failed by himself to rise. The King leant forward 
and, grasping the old man's hand, which had anointed him, bore 
it to his lips, and helped him to stand upright. It was a kingly 
act performed with all the grace and dignity of which our Lord 
the King had the secret. Not even the kiss when he greeted the 
Prince of Wales with all the tenderness to which the present King 
testified when he said : " I have lost not only a Father's love 
but the affectionate and intimate relations of a dear friend and 
adviser," could create greater emotion than this spontaneous 
tribute of respect to the brave old prelate, who a few weeks later, 
a slave to duty, made his last heroic effort in the House of Lords 
— broke down — and was taken home never to come forth again. 

We are wont to talk of the even tenour of life, when no such 
thing exists. No two days are Eilike, still less are any two years. 
The " Ships that pass in the night " are variously freighted. 
Some — these the rarest — are laden with the bright, precious jewels 
of happiness ; some with a cargo of neutral interest ; others are 
carrying the seeds of sorrow to be sowed broadcast over the world. 
The death of King Edward was felt far beyond the boundaries 
of this country or even of this Empire. He had earned for him- 
self an affection and influence such as no British monarch had 
ever before achieved, and when he died the sorrow was literally 
the people's sorrow. For some years before his death his health 
— though this was not generally known — had caused no little 
anxiety to his doctors. He was subject to violent fits of spas- 
modic coughing from which it sometimes seemed as if he could 
scarcely recover. The exertion was terrifying to those who 
witnessed it, and occasionally he appeared to be choking. 

This was the reason of his annual trips to Biarritz or some other 
place blessed with an atmosphere purer than that of the London 
which he loved. These journeys, which have been ungenerously 
attributed to the love of pleasure, were really a matter of necessity ; 
they furnished in a mild degree that oxygen which in its pure 
state is administered to the dying in order to relieve the pain of 
breathing — the pain from which he so often suffered. 

In the early days of 1910 the King seemed to outsiders to be 



1 82 Memories 



much in his usual health ; but the doctors were nervous and 
anxious ; they were eager to get him away from London. On 
the 6th of March he gave a great dinner-party — only men — he was 
in excellent spirits and after dinner went the round of his guests, 
as was his wont, and chatted gaily with each of them. As he 
was leaving the room he stopped for a moment, to talk to me, 
and spoke with all his natviral cheerfulness, like a boy before a 
holiday, of his journey which was to take place on the morrow. 

It was not long before the anxiety felt by his doctors was justi- 
fied. " Only we," said one of them to me, " know how serious 
his condition is. If he had been a private individual we should 
have had him away long ago." He caught cold in Paris and was 
very unwell when he arrived at Biarritz. The world at large 
was not told how ill he was, and the secret was well kept from 
all those who were not behind the scenes, but for a week he seemed 
to be wrestling with death ; that time he conquered, but the 
victory was ephemeral. On the 27th of April he came home. 
He was well enough, or imprudent enough, to go to the Opera, 
which he never willingly missed, for he was devoted to music. 

One night I happened to be sitting in a stall near his omnibus 
box. The King came in and sat down in his usual corner place. 
I noticed that he was looking very tired and worn. He sat through 
one act, all alone in the box. Then he got up, and I heard him 
give a great sigh. He opened the door of the box, lingered for 
a little in the doorway, with a very sad expression in his face — 
so unlike himself — took a last look at the house, and then went 
out. I never saw him again. At the end of the week, on the 
30th of April, he went down to Sandringham to superintend some 
work, and I had been bidden to hold myself in readiness to go 
with him, as I so often did on those occasions. But when the 
time came he was feeling ill and out of sorts, and so he only took 
with him Sir Dighton Probyn and the Equerry-in- Waiting. The 
cold wind gave the couj) de grace and he only came back to London 
to die. 

Ill as he was when he reached Buckingham Palace, he worked 
with all his accustomed energy, and on the Wednesday, when 
one of the permanent heads of the Civil Service was with him 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 183 



he was seized with one of those terrible choking fits ol coughing. 
When he got better his visitor ventured to remonstrate with him. 
and begged him to rest, and even go to bed, but he ridiculed the 
idea and said, " No, I shall not give in— I shall work to the end. 
Of what use is it to be aUve if one cannot work." That was how 
he fulfilled his declaration to the Privy Council on his accession, 
that " so long as there was breath in his body he would work for 
the good and amelioration of his people." 

The King loved England. He was a patriot in the highest, 
I had almost said the divinest sense of the word. Queen Mary 
Tudor said that when she died the word Calais would be found 
written upon her heart. When King Edward died the word would 
have been England. 

This leads me once more to the King's untiring power of work. 
His method differed entirely from that of Queen Victoria, and 
this last interview of his with a permanent civil servant well shows 
how his industry took another shape from hers. As I have already 
said, the Queen worked entirely at her desk ; she was an inde- 
fatigable writer and would alter and revise the drafts of her minis- 
ters freely — often with great effect^as for instance in the case 
of Lord Russell's Foreign Office despatches. But I suppose that 
few sovereigns have been less in personal contact with her minis- 
ters, with the single exception of Lord Beaconsfield, than Queen 
Victoria was after the defeat of Lord Melbourne, who up to that 
time had been always at her side as a confidential adviser as well 
as responsible minister. But of the permanent officials she per- 
sonally made no use. She never sent for them or consulted them, 
and I much doubt whether she knew the heads even of the Foreign 
Office or Treasury by sight. The chapter of accidents alone made 
me an exception to the rule. 

King Edward was very different in that respect. His work 
with his ministers was almost entirely done by discussion in per- 
sonal interviews ; moreover, he knew all the men of mark in the 
Civil Service as he did those in the Army and Navy, and made 
good use of their knowledge and experience in affairs. I believe 
that his was the better way ; at any rate, in these days of be- 
wildering rapidity, when telegraphs and telephones are at work 



I«+ 



Memories 



all day and all night, the Oriental aloofness of Queen Victoria's 
method could not fail to be a hindrance. But apart from that, 
I am convinced that the King would have been the Arst to admit 
that he derived great advantage from the help he received from 
direct intercourse with the heads of the various departments, 
while their sovereign's generous recognition could not fail to be 
a great stimulus to them. His Civil Service dinners were a great 
compliment. 

It is quite false to suppose that King Edward took no interest 
in home politics. But let us take a concrete case ; it is worth 
while for more than one reason. In Sir Sidney Lee's article there 
is an allusion to the King's attitude towards Lord Haldane's scheme 
for a Territorial Army. Now this is what took place. When 
Lord Haldane — then War Minister — ^had formulated his proposals, 
he took them to the King, who studied them diligently with Lord 
Haldane's explanations, and having with his usual quickness seen 
the point, came to the conclusion that the scheme shovild have 
a fair trial and determined to give it his support. With this view 
he did what no other man — ^not even the Prime Minister — could 
have done : he summoned the Lords Lieutenant of Counties to 
a meeting at Buckingham Palace to confer with him and Lord 
Haldane — the Duke of Connaught, himself a distinguished general, 
being present. 

The King made a speech impressing upon his Lieutenants the 
duty of energetically co-operating with the Secretary of State 
in launching the new county associations. To use an expression 
of one who was present, " The King played up magnificently." 
The Duke of Norfolk replied on behalf of his colleagues, and assured 
the King in a few admirable words that he might rely upon his 
Lords Lieutenant to perform their new duties. We see the result 
to-day. Right nobly have the Territorials justified their existence 
and the confidence of the King in the great War Minister who was 
responsible for them. I have been privileged to see a letter from 
one of the greatest of our Generals at the front. It would be 
difficult to imagine a finer tribute to Lord Haldane's administration 
of the War Office. It is now generally acknowledged that but 
for him and for the measures which he initiated, our position at 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 185 

the beginning of the war would have been very different from 
what it was. He enabled us to send out a force, which if still in- 
sufficient to break the German legions, was yet worthy of England. 
The rest will follow. I hold no brief for Lord Haldane, nor should 
I be guilty of the impertinence of attempting any estimate of 
his work. He is too great a man and can afford to be judged by 
results. What I seek to show is the patient industry and vigilant 
care with which the King mastered a complicated scheme at a 
moment when there was no stimulus such as the existence, or even 
the near probability, of a state of war to excite the imagination. 

In the same way he supported his trusted friend. Lord Fisher, 
in regard to the Navy ; and here again we see to-day what has 
come of his wise adoption of a new departure. Would that great 
Lord of the Sea any more than Lord Haldane accuse the King of 
lending a languid or half-hearted attention to his proposals ? 

It is a difficult matter for anyone who knew King Edward to 
write an appreciation of him. The danger of lapsing into indis- 
cretion is obvious. At the same time it is equally clear that only 
those who did know him intimately can give a just estimate of 
his character, and that to leave his portrait to be painted by those 
who did not know him, however gifted they may be, must in- 
evitably lead to misconceptions and misrepresentations, and that 
is still more dangerous. The fact is that King Edward had as 
many sides to his character as a brilliant has facets. The man 
who knew him not, sees one or more of those facets and rushes 
off at a tangent, drawing the whole character from such an im- 
perfect view of him. Nothing could be more unfair, nothing 
more unlucky in the case of a sovereign who must live in history. 

It is to be hoped that some day a life of the King may be written 
in which more stress may be laid upon the noble features of his 
nature, and not such exaggerated weight given to those transient 
foibles which mark the first escape of an ardent youth from peda- 
gogic thraldom. He had one characteristic for which we may go 
back to the simile of the brilliant. No diamond could be more purely 
clear and honest than King Edward, and it was that pellucid truth- 
fulness which made him so powerful in his relations with foreign 
sovereigns and statesmen : they knew that when they were dealing 



1 86 Memories 



with him they had to do with a King as honest as Nathanael. a man 
in whom was no guile. 

There is a sentence in the notice of the King in the " Dictionary of 
National Biography " which calls for some observation. In con- 
nection with Mr. Asquith's famous visit to Biarritz to kiss hands on. 
becoming Prime Minister, we are told that " the King's health was 
held to justify the breach of etiquette. But the episode brought 
into strong relief the King's aloofness from the working of poHtics, 
and a certain disinclination hastily to adapt his private plans to 
political emergencies." That, I affirm, gives a most unfair idea of 
the King's attitude to his duties. I have given the reasons, not 
generally understood, which occasioned his visits to Biarritz. 
People saw a strongly buUt, burly man and they were slow to recog- 
nize in him an invalid whose days were numbered. As regards the 
last part of my quotation, I dare assert that it is entirely unjust. 
For forty years — from 1861 to 1901 — as Prince of Wales, he, then a 
very young man, constantly had to sacrifice his own inclinations for 
the performance of duties the dullness of which was often of the 
most wearisome character. Those duties were carried out with a 
geniality which made men believe that he was really enjoying him- 
self, and for that they loved him. 

He was keen on sport, was gay and happy in amusement, delighted 
in the theatre and the Opera, and in society, but never was this side 
of his character allowed to hinder duty. " It is all so interesting," 
was a speech of his which I have quoted once before, in regard to the 
political work that became his portion as King, and which we axe 
asked to believe that he neglected. 

King Edward's wonderful courage and coolness were notorious. 
It never seemed to occur to him that there could be such a thing 
as danger, or, if it did exist, that it was worthy of his notice. 
When Blondin offered to carry him across Niagara on his tight-rope 
the Prince of Wales, as he then was, would have accepted the ven- 
ture at once, and was keen to go. But happily, though he could not 
be afraid for himself, there were others who could be afraid for him, 
and he was prevented. When a great chemist told him that he 
might safely put his hand into a caldron containing I know not what 
seething metal, he did so at once without hesitation or flinching. 



The Wedding of the Prince of Wales 187 



So it was when he was face to face with the murderer, and his pistol 
at Brussels. His nerve was perfect. We all remember the quiet 
courage with which he cleared decks for action, and made ready for 
the operation which in 1902 might easily have cost him his life. 
He wa6 not afraid of the chance of death then, nor did he show any 
sign of fear when the certainty came eight years later. On the 
morning of that fatal 6th of May, 1910, he was calm and collected. 
He knew that he was dying, but he could face death as cheerfully 
as he always had faced life. 

The end was lightning-swift, but so great was his energy that he 
had arranged to see a private friend that morning. He had desired 
Sir Ernest Cassel to go and visit him at eleven o'clock. Sir Ernest 
found the King dressed and sitting in his chair, from which he rose 
to greet and shake hands with his friend. " I knew that you 
would not fail me," he said. They remained talking for a while, 
but soon it was evident that the sufferer's strength was waning. 
Sadly Sir Ernest took his leave, feeling that it was for the last time. 
I was at Stratford-on-Avon, and received a telegram saying that he 
could hardly live through the night. The few sacred hours that 
followed were watched over by the tender care of those nearest 
and dearest to him — ^the loving wife and children who never left 
him till the end. In the afternoon he was undressed and laid in 
his bed ; the light faded and he became unconscious. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury came and joined in the prayers by the 
bedside. A little before midnight the brave heart had ceased 
to beat. 

When the black news came a deadly pall fell over the country, 
and there were many men — some great, some small — ^who felt that 
life could never again be quite the same for them. It seemed im- 
possible. To the last his energy was so vivid, the lamp of life's joy 
burned so brightly in him, that men could not believe that the grey 
mystery had extinguished that sunny nature. But it was all too 
true : the ringing voice was silenced for ever : the King was dead. 



Within the space of ten years Great Britain had lost two 
sovereigns. Both were sincerely mourned by their subjects. But 



1 88 Memories 



there are in grief qualities which differ. The sorrow which followed 
Queen Victoria to the grave was a tribute to a great and noble 
personality ; it was the recognition of the value of long years of 
assiduous labour, of a lonely life consecrated to the good of her 
country ; personally to the vast majority of her people she was 
unknown. For forty years she had lived, as the saying is in the 
East, " behind the curtain," and though her influence was felt, she 
herself was shrouded in something of awe — she was as invisible as 
Providence. King Edward, on the contrary, had been for half a 
century a most familiar figure in every part of the kingdom. Not 
hundreds, but thousands of men could claim that they had shaken 
hands with him, and could repeat some kindly word to which his 
genial manner had given emphasis and value. Every one of those 
myriads felt as though he had lost a personal friend — as if he in his 
humble self was the poorer. 

For the monarchy the Queen had won respect and admiration, 
and a feeling that 

God's in his heaven. 
All's right with the world. 

Then came King Edward, and he, without by one jot lessening the 
devotion which the great Queen had called up, added to her diadem 
the priceless pearls of personal love and affection. That was the 
crown of his work, and since that was won who shall say that his 
life was lived in vain ? King George has not been long upon the 
Throne ; but he too has played a part in which we older folk see an 
assurance that he will hand down to his successors untarnished and 
undimmed the lustre of the glory of which he is the heir. 



CHAPTER IX 

MY BROTHER. MUSIC AND THE DRAMA 

MY vagabond pen has strayed far from the year 1863 ; I must 
retrace my steps. In the month of April of that year my 
eldest brother, Percy, was married to the brilliant daughter of Lord 
Egerton of Tatton. It was the happiest of marriages, which was 
without a cloud until his too early death in 1883. He was a very 
clever man, but terribly hampered by bad health. He was originally 
in the Army, having entered the 43rd Regiment, from which he ex- 
changed into the 52nd and afterwards into the Scots Guards. But he 
was so crippled with rheumatic gout that he had to leave the Army, 
and after a while entered the Diplomatic Service, in which he served 
at Berlin, Brussels, Frankfort and Copenhagen. He was one of the 
few, the very few men who really mastered the intricacies of the 
Schleswig-Holstein question. Some people say that there were 
only two — Bismarck and his intimate enemy, the late Sir Robert 
Morier. He remained for several years an attache, and then read 
for the Bar, got called, and entered with zeal into politics. He was 
not successful in gaining a seat in Parliament, which was a great 
pity, for he was an exceptionally effective speaker. However, 
he was able to render good service to the Conservative party in 
other ways. 

He had no pretensions to scholarship, but he had the instinct of 
good nervous English, which, combined with a sound knowledge 
of law and of affairs, made him an excellent writer of pamphlets, 
leading articles, and political skits. To be a regular contributor 
to the Owl, which Laurence Oliphant edited, was a feather in 
any man's cap, and he was one of the seven original signatories 

189 



1 90 Memories 



of the Primrose League. It is pretty certain that had he Uved 
he would have made his mark in the political world. Dis aliter 
visum est — he died at the moment when life seemed to be 
dang.ing its choicest prizes before him. 



In 1858, immediately after leaving Oxford, I was pressed into 
the Amateur Musical Society by Henry Leslie, who was then 
its conductor, and made to play first cornet. In that year was 
held the first rehearsal for the Handel Festival at the Crystal 
Palace. The " Dictionary of National Biography " (Article Costa) 
gives the date as 1857, which is wrong. The object was to test 
the capabilities of the place for a vast orchestra and chorus. Our 
Society was invited to join the band, and so it came to pass that 
I played at the first cornet's desk at the rehearsal in 1858, and 
afterwards at the Festivals of 1859, 1862, and at the opening of 
the great Exhibition in London in the latter year. Costa, after- 
wards Sir Michael, conducted. 

The people who witnessed the failure of the young Neapolitan 
baritone at Birmingham in 1829 could have had no suspicion 
that they were rejecting a man who was destined to become a 
dominant influence in the music of this country. Costa's voice 
was weak and unattractive, but he had already been deeply 
schooled in the science of his art by Zingarelli, and had made 
some mark as a composer. It was Clementi who recognized his 
true vocation as conductor : if the story be true that after his 
first appearance as leader, the members of the band, who were not 
inclined to receive him with favour, presented him with a box 
of razors as a way of twitting him with his youth, there were good 
judges who at once formed the highest opinion of his power. 

The great Duke of Wellington,* who was devoted to music, and 
never, if he could help it, missed the " Ancient Concerts " or the 
opera, was in a box with my father the first time that he saw Costa 
conduct. He was immensely struck by the young conductor's 
dominant personahty, and turning round to my father said, " That 

* In his youth he worked bard at the violin, and it is said with success. 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 191 

young man could have commanded an army." He recognized 
a magnetic influence which no one who ever played under him 
failed to feel. His sway over his orchestra was phenomenal. He 
was the incarnation of masterful will-power. When I first knew 
him in about the year 1850 he was forty years of age. A sturdy, 
powerfully-built man of about the middle height — curly, rather 
fair hair — ^whiskers meeting under his chin ; slightly pitted with 
the smallpox ; a pale complexion. But what always struck me 
most about him was the massive lower jaw, that meant so much. 
I knew him well till his death in 1884, or rather till his terrible 
illness in 1883 — ^paralysis, which deprived him of the power of 
speech. The last time I saw him in Pall Mall he could only point 
with his finger to his tongue ; he shook his head sadly, his eyes 
filled with tears, he pressed my hand warmly in a parting which 
we both knew must be the last. 

I remember the occasion when after we had rehearsed Meyer- 
beer's opening music for the Exhibition of 1862, the composer 
bowed, thanked the band, and hailed Costa as the greatest con- 
ductor of the world, Richter is the only conductor that I have 
seen who could be compared with him. Leaving on one side the 
many faults that have been found with Costa as a musician — 
chiefly for tampering with scores — I believe no one could excel him 
in the art of conveying his intentions to a great army of performers. 
When he stepped into the orchestra, firmly grasped his baton 
— not holding it with ladylike daintiness between two fingers as 
do so many emasculate conductors of to-day — he would give two 
curious side to side movements with his head, a little trick which 
never failed, and then the beating of the first bar, firm and decided, 
made itself felt throughout band and audience, and one realized 
the appreciation of the great Duke. 

It would hardly be thought hkely that the rehearsals of a Handel 
Festival would lead to comic incidents — but they did to not a 
few. One was at the rehearsal for the miscellaneous day. We 
were ready for " See the Conquering Hero Comes." The chorus 
was to be heralded by brass instnmients alone. Costa Ufted his 
b^ton and called out, " Now, Brass ! One bar for nothing ! " 
Down came the stick and in the dead silence of " one bar for 



19^ Memories 



nothing," a solitary little tenor voice piped out " See the Con- 
quering " He got no further, Costa tapped his desk, folded 

the baton under his arm and roared out, "ARE YOU BRASS ? " 
There was a roar of laughter. Poor little tenor ! He must have 
wished that the Palace might collapse and he sink unnoticed in 
the ruins. 

Talking of that day, who that heard it could ever forget the 
tragic pathos of Sims Reeves's singing of " Waft her. Angels " ? 
That and his thrilling declamation of the recitative at the beginning 
of the Messiah, " Comfort ye my people," are among the most 
haunting memories of my musical days. 

It was a time of great singers. Amongst our own folk Clara 
Novello, Miss Dolby, and Santley with S^ims Reeves made a great 
quartet; for the rendering of oratorios there could hardly be a 
finer. Amongst the foreign artists, Grisi and Mario, Lablache, 
Ronconi, Graziani, Titiens, Alboni, Giuglini, Patti, Trebelli, are 
names that will live. 

With Mario and Grisi I was very intimate, they had been old 
friends of my father's ; indeed Mario and he had sung together 
when Mario was an amateur and came to London as Conte di 
Candia, a handsome young Sardinian officer. There were concerts 
at Bridgewater House at which Lady Sandwich was the soprano. 
Miss Gent, a beautiful Irish lady, the contralto, Mario tenor, and 
my father the baritone. When Mario made his debut in Paris, my 
father travelled all the way from Frankfort, posting, to applaud 
him. For many years, till I went out to China, I used to go almost 
every Sunday during the summer to Mario's villa to spend the 
afternoon in the garden, often remaining to dinner. They kept 
open house on Sunday, and I fancy never knew beforehand how 
many guests they would have — ten ? twelve ? twenty ? All 
were made welcome. Madame Grisi at the head of the table, smiling 
and beautiful, though no longer young, with her eyes beaming 
sweetness, was the picture of happy content. She did not talk 
much, but she had just one little kind word for everybody, and a 
motherly tenderness which seemed to enfold the whole world upon 
which those glorious eyes were looking. 
Mario was an altogether delightful companion. He was an 




MARIO. 
By Lord Leighion, P.R.A. 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 193 



-L- 



artist to his finger-tips. He was no mean sculptor, a learned 
collector of books and manuscripts, a scholar full of appreciation 
of all that was beautiful and refined, Many years after the time 
of which I am writing, when he came to England for the last time, 
a little before his death, he telegraphed to me to say he was in 
London. I was in the country and came up at once. He came 
to my house and we had a long talk over old times. I showed him 
some first states of engravings by William Faithorne, the elder. 
To my amazement he knew all about them. " Ah ! mon cher," 
said he in explanation, " J'ai eu toutes les folies." 

In the days of his opulence his charity and generosity knew 
no bounds. Many of his compatriots lived upon him. One day 
I was walking with him in his garden at Fulham, when up came 
a caricature of a man, as tall and lean as a church tower, with a 
hat that reached the skies, dressed in a long snuff-coloured coat 
falling to his heels, a grizzled beard, and a cascade of grey hair 
over his shoulders ; a figure out of Struwel Peter. He made a 
low sweeping bow as if he meant to cut the turf with his hat. 
" Signor Mario ! " another obeisance, hand on heart, and once 
more the steeple hat shaved the grass. " Ah ! Dottor Begge, 
what have you there ? " " Signor Mario, I hold here a manu- 
script " — producing a roll from under his arm — " but a manuscript ! 
such a manuscript ! " and he blew a kiss into the air. " Well ! 
What do you want for it ? '" asked Mario. " For you, Signor 
Mario, a mere nothing, only twenty pounds sterling." Mario 
looked at it, bought it, and the long Doctor, bowing even lower 
than before, stalked off happy. Mario turned round to me and 
said, " Qa. ne vaut pas vingt sous ! Mais, ce pauvre Begge, il faut 
bien qu'il vive." 

Another Sunday an obviously very impecunious Italian came 
up and told a piteous story of misery at home. Mario did not 
hesitate a moment ; he told the man to go to his room, open a 
drawer in his writing-table where he would find some notes and 
gold, and take what he wanted. He was a grand, large-hearted, 
generous creature ; one of the most lovable of men. 

In his later days Mario used to be subject to sudden flushing 
and slight giddiness — out of this the jealousy and ill-nature of 
VOL. I 13 



194 Memories 



rivals got up the myth that he drank. He was well aware of this 
and made fun of it. At dinner one evening there was some 
Chateau Lafitte of '48 on the table ; Mario poured out a quarter 
of a tumbler of this and filled it up with water. I told him that 
it was an act of vandalism to drown so rare a wine. He held up 
the glass laughing and said, " Mon cher, c'est avec cela que je me 
siiis fait une reputation d'ivrogne." Sometimes after dinner a valse 
would be played and Mario would call out, " Chi vuol ballare con 
Papa ? " and he would dance with his children,- then little girls, like 
a boy in his teens. They adored him and their mother, who looked 
on radiant. 

One met many famous people in that villa. There it was that 
I last saw the Countess Castiglione — still beautiful, though, dread- 
ing as it was said that her beauty might fade, she had already 
retired from the world before her charms should begin to wane. 
The first time I met her was at an afternoon party at Holland 
House, a dream of loveliness acknowledged by everybody ; not 
a fault to be found from the crown of her head to the tips of her 
feet, and what arms and hands ! Then she was in her pride of 
queendom, radiant, attracting all eyes. Now she was dressed in 
black, thickly veiled, and speaking only to Mario and Grisi. But 
disguise herself as she might, she could not altogether hide her 
transcendent charms. 

Whether speaking or singing, I have never heard such a voice 
as Mario's. It was pure music. The best testimony to its quality 
came to me secondhand from Richard Wagner. I was talking 
with Siegfried Wagner about voices, and I said that without a 
doubt the finest tenor that I had ever known was Mario. " Yes," 
said Siegfried, " my father always said the same thing." This 
witness is the more valuable as no one could accuse Wagner of any 
predilection for the Itahan school of song. 

Giuglini, the tenor of the rival house where Titiens reigned 
supreme, used to be compared with Mario ; but in my judgment 
this was absurd. Giuglini's voice, lovely as it was, had a slight 
defect of " throatiness," whereas Mario's voice came pure and 
clear from the chest. On the stage there was absolutely no com- 
parison between the two men. Mario's great beauty and his 



M}' Brother. Music and the Drama 195 

marvellous power of acting, combined with an irresistible personal 
charm, made him unique. It would be difficult to imagine any- 
thing more thrilling than the tragedy of the two great duets with 
Grisi in the Huguenots and the Favorita. 

Older people were wont to say that when he first appeared on 
the stage he was a " stick," and that it was Grisi who taught him 
and inspired him with the fire of her own genius. If that was 
so, she found an apt pupil. She was certainly an incomparable 
actress, but the talent must have been latent in him too, even 
though the credit of having called it forth may belong to her. 

In his last years, when he had retired from the stage, had lost 
his fortune, and was custode of a museum, Queen Margherita 
was extremely anxious to hear him sing, and commissioned 
Edoardo Vera, her music master, to try and get him to do so. 
After some difficulty Vera, who told me the story, succeeded, and 
transposed one or two of his old songs for him so that he was really 
singing as a baritone. So managed. Vera told me that the voice 
was as velvety and beautiful as ever. The Queen was delighted, 
and the dear old Mario, white-haired and white-bearded, charmed 
with his reception. I can well believe in the unimpaired beauty of 
so much of the singing voice as remained, for when last I saw him 
in 1879, his speaking voice was still instinct with the same music 
that I remembered when in the opening of the Barbiere he used to 
call out to Figaro behind the scenes. He died on the nth of 
December, 1883. 

During the last few years of her life, Grisi's voice began to show 
signs of wear and tear. It was generally as full and sonorous as 
ever, and the " bel canto " was glorious. But now and then the 
notes would fail her, and sometimes it made one nervous to listen 
to her. Vera, always witty and not seldom iU-natured, once 
answered when someone said, " La Grisi a to uj ours de bien beaux 
moments." " Oui, mais en revanche elle a des fichus quarts 
d'heure." That was exaggeration born of jealousy, for Vera had 
a sister Sophie, whom he adored, and who always had to sing 
Adalgisa when he would fain have had her take Grisi's place as 
Norma. 
Of one musical recollection I am very proud. Grisi, in 1859, 
VOL. 13* 



196 Memories 



chose me to play the comet obbUgato for her in a Romance by 
Vera, " Cari fior ch'io stessa coisi," and it ended vsdth a double 
cadence for the voice and the obbligato instnmient. The second 
time that I accompanied her was at a concert at Dudley House 
given for the benefit of a poor Italian baritone, Ciabatta, who was 
d57ing of consumption. He, poor fellow, had little voice for the 
opera, but was an excellent singing master. His misfortune was 
that he was one of the handsomest men that could be seen, a perfect 
Apollo, and so when he took the best recommendations, he was 
rejected as dangerous. " Toujours la mSme histoire," he said 
piteously once, after a barren morning's lesson-himting, " les 
mamans ne veiilent pas de moi ! EUes disent toutes que je suis 
trop beau." 

Of course, because Mario had a villa at Fulham, Giuglini, as 
representing the rival house, must have one also. His villa had 
a long strip of garden with a sundial at the bottom of it. Here 
on Sundays he would invite his friends, and when they were 
gathered together he would cover the sundial with breadcrumbs, 
attracting sparrows, tits, blackbirds and thrushes. As soon as 
there was a sufficient congregation of these poor innocents, he, 
standing in the verandali, would send for a gun and blaze away at 
them, exclaiming to his admiring guests, " Voyez-vous, j 'adore 
la chasse ! " What a sportsman ! Of his success and charm as 
a singer there can be no doubt ; that he did not please me better 
was probably my own fault. His end was a sad one. He lost his 
reason and died miserably in an asylum, singing, as I have been 
told, to the last, spending his lovely voice in the solitude of a 
madman's cell. 

Jenny Lind I only heard after she had left the stage. Her 
operatic career was a short one : so far as London was concerned 
it only lasted two years. Her first appearance was in 1847, ^^^ 
last in 1849, when she was only twenty-nine years old. She con- 
tinued to sing in concerts and oratorios and made a very successful 
tour in America, but the theatre knew her no more. 

I can well remember how all London went mad over her in the 
Figlia del Reggimento, when she reached the zenith of her fame, 
in later years, when she was a woman of about forty, I used to 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 197 

aieet her and her husband at the house of a friend. She was a 
talUsh, stately, typical Swedish woman, with a wealth of fair hair, 
no special beauty of feature, but an expression and above all a 
smUe that were of angelic goodness. The voice was still crystal- 
clear, true and sweet ; even the highest notes — and heaven knows 
what altitudes she reached ! — were as soft and caressing as those 
of the middle register. 

In my friend's little drawing-room, with perhaps half a dozen 
people present, all sympathetic, Goldsmid would sit down at 
the piano, and she would pour out her soul, like the " Swedisn 
Nightingale " that she was, in liquid music, shedding around her 
a happiness which she herself surely felt. Those little modest 
dinners were feasts indeed. 

Later on in these sketches I hope to have a good deal to say about 
Thomas Carlyle, but one conversation that I had with him seems 
to fit in so well here that I feel inclined to take it out of its turn. 
It is strange that he, who could so cruelly scourge the opera as 
he did in the " Keepsake " for 1852,* should have spoken, with all 
the rugged enthusiasm that was in him, both of Jenny Lind and 
Grisi. 

I forget how the subject cropped up, but he went off at score, 
contrasting the two : " The burning, passionate nature of the fiery 
Southern woman with the calm, cold temperament of the Northern 
singer " — those were his very words. Of the two I think that, 
Scot though he was, the fire of the South appealed to him more 
than the snows of the North. He preached on for several minutes, 
giving due meed of praise to both the great singers, but always with 
a tilt of the scale in favour of Grisi. 

Then from the opera he passed on to the stage, and there he 
recognized one figure above all others. He told me how he had 
seen Talma act in Paris — how great he was — how far ahead of all 
other actors. What appealed to him strongly was the statuesque 
side of the famous player's genius, how completely he looked the 
part he was acting, especially in the old classical tragedies. " That 
man could so drape himself in a toga that you just felt that you 
had one of the ancient Romans before you." When Carlyle spoke 

• " Miscellaneous Writings," Vol. VII. p. 123. 



198 Memories 



it was with the fire that he admired in "the Southern woman." 
Ecclefechan could vie with Palermo. The lava of his volcanic 
talk swept all before it. I should have liked to have got him to 
speak of former lights of the English stage — the Kembles, the elder 
Kean and others. But it was of no use tryiag to stop him when 
once he had started. As easily might you hold the waters of 
Lodore with a butterfly-net. It was Jenny Lind, Grisi, Talma — 
nothing else. 

There were some great actors in my young days. The infectious 
high spirits of the younger Charles Mathews, the solemn fun of Buck- 
stone, Keeley, Toole and Paul Bedford at the Adelphi (the Paul-y- 
Tooly-technic, as some wag called it), Wigan and Leigh Murray, 
Benjamin Webster and many others were grand assets in the 
gaiety of the nation. It is something to have seen Charles Mathews 
in London Assurance, Wigan with his perfect French, in The First 
Night {Le P^re de la Debutante), Keeley and Leigh Murray in The 
Camp at Chobham. What perfection of acting ! In light comedy 
and farce the English stage has always been richly endowed. Of 
tragedy perhaps the less said the better. 

In the early fifties Macready, Phelps and Charles Kean were 
supposed to be the shining lights among the tragedians — Macready, 
indeed, soon about to pass into a tradition.* To me they gave 
no pleasure. They seemed to rant and roar and mouth, tearing to 
tatters Othello, Shylock, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear. Their 
methods were purely academic, mechanical and utterly imnatural. 
There was plenty of elocution, plenty of declamation — nothing 
spontaneous, nothing humanly possible ; everything taught, 
nothing felt ; of true emotion, begetting emotion in others, not 
a trace. 

I once, in 1856, saw Othello played in a bam at Killamey; the 
Moor was rather drunk, but he was as academic as the great pro- 
fessors ; between him and them there was small difference. It 
was a question of degree. But here am I daring to criticize when 
I do not even know the jargon of the trade. What is this that 
is come unto the son of Kish ? Is Saul also among the critics ? 

* He appeared on the stage for the last time in Macbeth at Drury Lane 
in February, 1851. But I heard him read long after that. 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 199 

Be it my right to speak or not, I shall maintain that Robson, 
the meteoric man who for so short a time was a blazing light in 
the theatrical firmament, was the greatest actor that I ever saw on 
any stage at home or abroad. Upon him the mantle of Garrick 
had fallen, for there was no branch of his art that came amiss to 
him. He made his reputation in grotesque farces such as The 
Wandering Minstrel and Boots at the " Swan," in which he showed 
the town masterpieces of eccentric character study ; in burlesque 
he had no rival ; and now and then, as in The Yellow Dwarf, he 
would burst into a fury of passionate acting without any suspicion 
of rant, that sent cold thrills through the house, making men feel 
what he would have been capable of achieving in tragedy. 

But he was small, puny and weak, and probably his frame would 
hardly have carried him through one of the grand heroic parts. 
Where he was at his best and greatest was in such tender, appealing 
plays as The Porter's Knot. Here was the real spirit of tragedy, 
and here he differed from the schoolmen of whom I have spoken, 
just as the pathos of a story of misery and woe, told simply and 
plainly from heart to heart by the sufferer himself, differs from the 
artificial emotion cooked up for a jury by a lawyer. He could 
draw tears from the stoniest. Unhappily the feeble body was soon 
worn out ; his arduous work exhausted him ; stimulants kept 
him up to the mark for a time, but they, too, exacted their 
penalty. His London successes lasted but some eight years, 
for he retired from the stage in 1862, and two years later he died, 
being not much more than forty years old. 

When Dion Boucicault brought out The Colleen Bawn with his 
beautiful wife as the Colleen, his Miles na Coppaleen fairly took the 
town by storm. The devil-may-care Irish joyousness which he 
threw into the part was irresistible, and carried actors and audience 
with it from his first entrance to the end. But there was one 
part of his which was even more striking. When he played The 
Vampire, the performance was so horrifying, so ghastly in its 
realism, that, if I remember right, it was soon withdrawn on that 
account. The public could not stand it, and it was not brought 
out again. It was a haimting performance. 

First nights in the Victorian days were not the fashionable 



200 Memories 



gatherings that they now are. People took no more notice of them 
than they did of ordinary performances. That accounted for my 
being present, quite by accident, at the first night of The Bells on 
the 25th of November, 1871. The sensation which Irving created 
in it was sudden and startling. It was a magnificent success, 
and Irving's fame was made. But what I thought even better 
was his performance of Jingle in Pickwick, by which the famous 
play was preceded. He was Jingle to the life. The impudent, 
lean, hungry, out-at-elbows stroller and SAvindler was a very 
picture of bohemian destitution. Irving's many successes, his 
shortcomings and his mannerisms are of too recent date to need 
dwelling upon. Whether he was a great tragedian or not has been 
much debated ; but I never heard two opinions as to his powers in 
comedy ; his Jingle, his Jeremy Diddler amd his Doricourt in 
The Belle's Stratagem were probably as perfect comedy as could 
be seen. Personally he was one of the most charming of men, and 
he made many fast friends. 

I was present at a small party of men which he once gave after 
the play at the Lyceum. King Edward, then Prince of Wales, 
and many of the foremost men of the day had accepted his invi- 
tation. Toole was there, full of fun, and Irving recited the scene 
with the waiter in " David Copperfield." He just stood leaning 
agauist the chimney-piece and told the story. But how he told 
it ! That was an inimitable performance. The party did not break 
up until long after cock-crow. I drove away with Russell Lowell, 
the American Minister, in a belated, or rather be-earlied, hansom 
cab ; it was summer time and broad daylight, and we two elderly 
gentlemen felt very dissipated and rather ashamed of being seen, 
but we both agreed that it would have been difficult to have a 
more agreeable gathering or a more genial host. The verdict of 
Lowell, wit, poet, diplomatist, man of letters and man of charm, 
was conclusive. 

Of great actors England has always been prolific. I have left 
out many of those who were stars in the fifties and sixties. I have, 
for instance, said nothing of my friend Sir Squire Bancroft, whose 
memory must live if only for the noble use to which, for many 
years, he has devoted his great talents. 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 201 

In great actresses, for some mysterious reason, we have not been 
so rich. When men talk of women who have been distinguished 
in tragedy, they still go back to the fame of Mrs. Siddons. Miss 
O'Neill is now forgotten. As Lady Becher I used constantly to meet 
her at the house of old Lady Essex (the famous Miss Stevens), 
who used to gather round her, together with all that was smartest 
in society, the fine flower of the world of art — almost all the great 
musicians whom I have mentioned above, Leighton, Landseer, 
Marochetti, Chorley, Planch6 and a host of celebrities. Lady 
Becher as an old lady, cold, stiff and alarming, certainly did not 
give one the idea of an actress who could so picture sorrow and agony 
as to create emotion. But of English tragic actresses whom I 
myself have seen I can recall but two — Adelaide Neilson and 
Ellen Terry. I wish we could claim the beautiful Mary Anderson, 
who vera incessu patuit Dea — but she, alas ! is an American, 
though for the joy of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire she has 
made her home at Broadway. Adelaide Neilson worked her way 
to fame from beginnings of the poorest and the most squalid ; she 
was an exemplification of the Japanese proverb " The lotus flower 
springs from the mud." Here again was a meteor, for she died 
in Paris when only thirty-two years old ; .but she had lived long 
enough to win admiration by her beauty and great talent. Her 
lovable qualities appealed to her friends, and her kindness of heart 
endeared her to her brother and sister players. She was a bom 
actress, and was endowed with that greatest of all gifts for a 
tragedian — the gift so conspicuous in Sarah Bernhardt — a speaking 
voice soft and tender, full of musical pathos and emotion, a voice 
which would of itself have aroused sympathy had she been less 
winsome in other ways than she was. But in truth she was a most 
attractive woman, beautiful to look at and a joy to listen to. Her 
early death left a void in the English stage. 

Of Ellen Terry I need not speak. All men know what she is, 
and none deny her sovereignty. Besides, I am dealing only with 
the past. Will the future bring anything quite so charming ? 

Fifty or sixty years ago the palm went to the elder actresses. 
Mrs. Sterling as Peg Woffington in Tom Taylor and Charles Reade's 
Masks and Faces, playing up to Benjamin Webster's Triplet, was 



202 Memories 



one of the most extraordinary pieces of acting that I ever saw ; 
and when she appeared as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet one could 
only mourn over the cruelty of time, feeling of how delightful a 
Juliet the years had robbed us. Mrs. Wigan, acting with her 
husband as Mrs. Stemhold in Still Waters run Deep, was memorably 
good, and when in The Bengal Tiger, in order to win the heart of 
the old Nabob (again Alfred Wigan as the tiger), she tried to smoke 
a hookah, her agonies were excruciatingly funny. Mrs. Keeley, 
too, was a tower of strength to any company. Her Jack Sheppard 
lives in my memory, as indeed do many of her parts, as a most 
finished dramatic picture — the prison scene absolutely harrowing. 
Like Robson and Garrick, she could be tragic or comic at will. In 
our young actresses, ingenues, we were not so fortunate as the play- 
goers of the present day. 

But we did possess one star, at any rate, of the first magnitude. 
In 1862, when Miss Kate Terry appeared in The Duke's Motto 
with Fechter,* whose triumphs at Paris with Madame Doche in 
the creation of the Dame aux Camelias were world-famous, all 
London, from Charles Dickens downwards, vowed that such 
romantic acting had never been seen and could never be beaten^ 
The fascination of the love scenes was bewildering. There was 
nothing theatrical about them. They were the very poetry of 
emotion. When she left the stage after a very short and brilliant 
career to become the gracious chatelaine of Moray Lodge, that 
small portion of the world which calls itself Society was the gainer, 
but to the world at large it was a heavy loss. 

Miss Madge Robertson, now Mrs. Kendal, was both a lovely 
girl and a most fascinating actress. She it was, unless my memory 
fails me, who with her husband created Gilbert's Pygmalion and 
Galatea, which was also one of Miss Mary Anderson's great parts. 
Gilbert was lucky in getting two such ladies to interpret him. 

A list is mostly only interesting to those who appear in it, and 
this is mere list-making ; no more than an attempt to register 

* A most picturesque and splendid actor. A Frenchman to all intents 
and purposes, speaking English with a strong French accent. There was a 
story that he was born in England, but that is doubtful. He died in America 
in 1879. (See " Dictionary of National Biography.") 



My Brother. Music and the Drama 203 

for the present generation the names of those who delighted their 
grandfathers — and most of those who are in it have <^mppeared. 
But even from a list it is impossible to omit the name of Lady 
Banqroft. To all who saw her she wUl always remain a charming 
memory of the days when all the youth of London was in love with 
Miss Marie Wilton — across the footlights. Her sparkling gaiety, 
her delicious little impertinencies, her irresistible spirits, her 
entirely fascinating personality, were so full of life that the doctors 
might have prescribed a stall at the Strand Theatre for their run- 
down patients, when she was playing Pippo in The Maid and the 
Magpie, or one of her other burlesque parts. Then came the days 
of the Prince of Wales's Theatre and Tom Robertson's famous 
plays. Society, Caste, Ours, School — and here again Miss Marie 
Wilton proved her great powers in a new line. Acting more subtle 
and more refined has perhaps never been seen. Her troupe, more- 
over, was famous for the all-round excellence with which the pieces 
were given ; it used to be a reproach to the English stage that if 
there were a first-rate star in the company, the rest of the charac- 
ters were more or less left to chance, and people used to compare 
the slovenliness of our theatres with the exquisitely finished detail 
of Paris. At the Prince of Wales's Theatre, under the Bancroft 
management, the finish given to the smallest parts was as careful 
and fastidious as that which marked the play of the chief actors. 
The result was a harmonious whole, setting an example which has 
wrought the best influence on our stage. The old slip-shod per- 
formances which I can remember would now no longer be tolerated, 
and for their disappearance much gratitude is owing to the 
Bancrofts. Caste was, perhaps, their masterpiece. Lady Ban- 
croft's Polly Eccles, with her husband as Captain Hawtree, and 
Sir John Hare as Eccles, made the piece a landmark in the history 
of the English drama. 

Of the g3m8eceum of the English stage I have no more to say. 
It would be pleasing for a veteran play-goer like myself to pay his 
tribute to the charm of such delightful actresses as Miss Irene 
Vanbrugh, Miss Marie Tempest, Miss Gladys Cooper and others 
Their praises must be left to be sung by their own contemporaries, 
of whom I only wish that I were one. 



CHAPTER X 

RUSSIA 

ONE day in the month of November, 1863, I agreed to make an 
exchange for six months with Mr. Locock, the second secre- 
tary of Embassy at St. Petersburg — it would be an anachronism 
to speak of " Petrograd " — and by the end of the month I was off. 

November 30th. — St. Petersburg at last ! To anyone who 
loves beautiful scenery there could hardly be a duUer, gloomier 
journey than that across the eternal stretches of moor and marsh, 
broken up by forests of sad-looking, stunted birch and fir trees. 
No human habitation to be seen, no mankind, save at the railway 
stations a few peasants, their limbs swathed in bandages of sack- 
cloth, with bags of the same all over ; dirty, imkempt, poverty- 
stricken, and hungry as their fellow-subjects the wolves. Soldiers 
everywhere, for the Polish insurrection was at its height, and even 
our train had a military guard. Most of my fellow passengers 
carried revolvers, picturesque but unprofitable furniture, giving a 
slight flavoiu- of adventurousness to the journey, though there was 
really no cause for alarm, no reason to expect the least little excite- 
ment in the way of danger. There were too many soldiers about for 
that. Thirteen trains full of them passed into Lithuania the day 
before I was there, adding to our impatience by delaying us for an 
hour and a half when we were longing with our whole souls to 
reach our goal. 

And yet, socially, it was a pleasant journey enough. I travelled 
with William Harbord, Lord Suffield's brother, whose first appear- 
ance it was as a Queen's Messenger. On board the Calais boat 

204 



Russia 205 

was the Crown Prince of Denmark, going home from work at Oxford, 
who was most kind to us, and invited us to travel in his carriage 
and to dine with him at Cologne. We parted from him at Hanover 
when he branched off for Denmark. We were very sorry to say 
good-bye, for he was most gracious and friendly. At Berlin I 
had a few hours between trains, which I spent with that grand old 
diplomatist Sir Andrew Buchanan, who was our Ambassador, a 
great gentleman of the old school, and in the evening I dined with 
him before starting for Russia. Here again I was in luck, for in 
the train I found Prince Alexis Dolgorouky and at Kowno there 
were added to us General Bechelemicheff and his wife. He was 
returning from a command in Poland, and the first intimation that 
we had of his presence at the station was an awful serenade of 
songs and brass instruments executed by the band of one of his 
regiments. So we had quite a merry party and the time passed 
cheerfully enough inside the carriage. Outside the prospect was 
dismal to a degree, and we shut our eyes to it. The winter's 
snow had not yet arrived, and there was nothing but slosh and 
mud and misery. However : 

" Be the day weary or be the day long. 
At length it ringeth to evensong." 

What a crowd it was at the station ! Railway officials. Custom 
House officers, poUce, hotel touts, droschky drivers, indescribables 
of aU sorts ; swearing, chaffing, abusing, howling ; each one straining 
his own lungs and the hearers' ears as nearly to bursting point as 
possible, until, official patience being exhausted, a police officer 
wielding a stout cudgel, with a few blows indiscriminately ad- 
ministered about the heads of the rabble, sent them aU flying in 
various directions, and at last the Embassy servant who had been 
sent to meet me was able to pilot me to a carriage and I once more 
tasted freedom. 

It was a lovely moonlit night, close upon ten o'clock, and the 
town looked perfectly beautiful. The canals and palaces and 
streets ablaze with light, the river reflecting a thousand lamps. 
The domes and spires of the churches, gilt and silvered, all sparkling 
with frost as if they had been sprinkled with diamonds and precious 



2o6 Memories 



stones. Everything different to anything that I had ever seen 
before, all new, fresh and delightful — the delicious keen air driving 
away the last memory of the train with its stuffiness and heat and 
dirty, oily smells — a never-to-be-forgotten drive breathing new 
life into me and just putting me into that frame of mind which 
fits one to receive the sharpest enjoyment. 

Before doing anything else, travel-stained, untidy and un- 
comfortable as I was, I had to go to the Embassy to deliver the 
despatches which I was carrying. For a wonder. Lord and Lady 
Napier were neither dining out nor entertaining at home, amd the 
Ambassador had given orders that I was to be shown up at once. 
Rather an ordeal to have to face the great man, upon whom a first 
impression may mean so much, without even casting off the slough 
of four days and nights of travel ! However, Lord and Lady 
Napier put me at my ease at once. The diplomatist abroad is 
always hungry for the last news, the latest piece of gossip, social or 
political, and my chief kept me talking in the friendliest way. 
When at last it was time to say good night, he called me back and 
said : 

" By the by, tell your people at home to send you all letters 
in the Foreign Office bag — ^none by the Post Office, where all our 
letters are opened." 

" Surely," I said, " they would not dream of opening the corre- 
spondence of so humble a person as myself." 

" Don't be too sure of that," broke in Lady Napier. " The 
other day my children's governess received two letters by the same 
post from different parts of England. Each contained a photo- 
graph. The two letters came in one envelope, the two photographs 
in the other ! " 

As I drove away from the Embassy I could think of nothing 
but the great charm of my Chief and Chiefess. She was certainly 
one of the most fascinating women I ever had the good fortune to 
meet. Handsome, clever, agreeable, well read, very dignified, 
beautifully dressed, she was delightful to look at, delightful to 
listen to ; the tjrpe of what an ambassadress should be, doing 
the honours of the Queen's house on the Neva like the great lady 
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Russia 207 

the climate of Russia did not suit her ; but she was none the less 
a noble helpmeet to His Excellency ; to all of us she was so 
gracious and kind, so thoughtful and considerate, that we wor- 
shipped her. I reverence her memory. As for Lord Napier, I 
don't think that anybody who ever served under him would say 
that it would be possible to have a kinder or a better chief. He 
was undeniably a most astute diplomatist, full of resource, a master 
of the art of ingratiating himself with those who came into contact 
with him. 

The Russians, from the Emperor downward, all liked him, and 
he was able to put through, by the stem force of pleasing, many 
a tangled piece of business which would have been perhaps an 
impossibility to others. I shall cite one notable instance later on. 
In society he was popular wherever he went. He was an admirable 
raconteur and always a kindly listener, possessing the art of 
drawing out men so as to make them show at their best, and they 
were duly grateful.. His ready wit and power of repartee were 
enhanced by the most infectious twinkle of his eye ; he was one 
of those rare men who laugh with their eyes, and to me that 
quality is irresistible. He was young for an ambassador (only 
forty-two years old when he reached that rank in 1861) , but looked 
older than his years, and even in his earliest days coiild never 
have been anything but a grand seigneur. Quite apart from the 
joy of living in intimacy with such a man, any yoimg diplomatist 
who might be attached to his Embassy had a rare chance to learn 
his business under so able a chief. 

It was a piece of good fortune to find my old friend John Lumley, 
afterwards Ambassador at Rome, and created Lord SavUe, estab- 
lished here as First Secretary. He was very popular in Russian 
society, as he was ever5rwhere else, and it was a great advantage 
to have him as sponsor. He was most kind and introduced me 
to many of the pleasantest people in St. Petersburg. The day 
after my arrival he drove me about, and took me to see several 
of his friends. Among others a lovely young widow — only twenty- 
four years of age — Countess Koucheleff-Bezbarodko, who lived 
in a palace the magnificence of which I have never seen surpassed. 
It would have been difficult to determine which was the more 



2o8 Memories 



beautiful, the lady or her home. The casket was worthy of the 
jewel, and that is the best that can be said. She afterwards married 
the eldest son of Prince Suvoroff , the Governor-General of St. Peters- 
burg. But it is idle to expatiate upon the grandeur and luxury 
of these great palaces ; they are a matter of common knowledge, 
and I shall write no more about them, though of the kindness and 
friendliness with which we were greeted in them one would hardly 
weary of talking. The Russian noble has in perfection the greatest 
of all the qualities which go to make up the character of a grand 
seigneur, that of making his guests, however humble they may 
be, feel at their ease. That is what makes society in this brilliant 
city so pleasant. 

To English people the familiarity of the Russians with English 
literature has always made a great bond of sympathy. A new 
novel by Dickens or Thackeray was looked forward to with almost 
as much excitement as it was in London, and the EngUsh classics 
have become the common property of all. I was not a little 
astonished when on my being presented to Count Orloff Davidoff, 
one of the great nobles, he asked me what relation I was to the 
historian of Greece. He had studied at Edinburgh University. 
When poor Thackeray died at the end of the year the consterna- 
tion and sorrow were most touching. He was one of the last men 
with whom I spoke before leaving home. 

On the evening before I left London for St. Petersburg I was 
up in a box at the Promenade Concert. Down below I saw 
Thackeray's gigantic figure, his white head towering above the 
crowd, and I ran down to bid him farewell. He had always been 
very kind to me as he was to all young people, and I was naturally 
greatly flattered and fascinated by his charm — for he could be 
very charming when he chose, though, like his great rival Dickens, 
and even Addison as Pope tells us, he resented anjrthing like being 
drawn out in the company of strangers. I several times met him 
at dinner at Millais', when he and I would be the only guests, 
making up a quartette with the genial, handsome host and his 
no less handsome wife. After dinner Mrs. Millais used to leave 
us, and we three men adjourned to the great studio where we 
might smoke in armchair comfort. 



Russia 209 

Thackeray would have been very handsome but for the broken 
nose which he himself so often caricatured, but which with his 
round face gave him a sort of cherubic look, like one of Raphael's 
winged heads, rather robbing it of its masculine vigour and seeming 
almost absurdly in contrast with his great size and strong nature. 
It was delightful to see him beaming behind his spectacles with 
his long legs stretched out in front of him, the picture of placid 
content, and to hsten to his words, kindly, witty, full of old-world 
anecdote, told in the English of Addison — the fruit of his studies 
for Esmond and his lectures on the eighteenth century Essayists — 
with just a little delightful spice of good-natured cynicism which 
was as cayenne pepper animating the olla podrida of his talk. 
Sometimes he was so gay and so young that he seemed just what 
he must have been when he called out " adsum " at the Charter 
House. Thackeray was very fond of Millais. He admired his 
art, and the great painter's large, honest, bluff and rough nature, 
his innocence of all humbug or affectation, which Thackeray 
loathed above all things, appealed to him. The two were per- 
fectly happy together, so in that studio Thackeray was at his best. 
And what a best it was ! 

Less than a month after I reached St. Petersburg the news that 
Thackeray was dead was flashed along the wires to a capital where 
he was almost as well known by those who had never seen him as 
he was in his own familiar Kensington. I had been greatly struck 
by his popularity in Russia, and had looked forward to some day 
telling him how great was his greatness in that land of cold snow 
and warm hearts. The fatal 24th of December robbed me of that 
pleasure. It created a sad gap among his friends, who loved him 
as dearly for himself as others did for his work. 

The last time I saw Millais was in February, 1896, a few days 
after Leighton's funeral. He stopped me in St. James's Street, 
and we had a little talk, chiefly about the friend whom we had 
so recently lost. He was looking well and hearty, but was closely 
muffled up. The terrible disease in his throat made him almost 
inaudible. He spoke in a hoarse whisper, and at the end of the 
summer one more President of the Royal Academy was carried 
to St. Paul's Cathedral. The careers of the two men were a curious 
VOL. I 14 



2IO Memories 



sequel to the prophecy which Thackeray wrote to Millais from 
Rome in 1852 : " I have seen in Rome a versatile young dog who 
will run you hard for the Presidentship some day ! " 

A few days after my arrival I received a summons to the Winter 
Palace to be presented to the Emperor. The ceremony was very 
different from the march past of many hundred men, which con- 
stitutes a levee at home. It was rather an ordeal, for I had to 
go by myself with no tutelary deity in the shape of an ambassador 
to present me and show me the ropes, as is done at most other 
courts. I found a batch of eleven other victims of all nations, 
who had been summoned for the same purpose, and we were shown 
into a rather shabbily-furnished room decorated with a few bad 
pictures of reviews — altogether a violent contrast to the magnifi- 
cence of the staircase and corridors through which we were led 
by servants in gorgeous apparel, with soldiers in splendid 
uniforms mounting guard. Presently the Tsar came in, a tall, 
imposing figure with a very kindly face and genial manner. 

He called up each of us in turn, and when we had been presented 
by a chamberlain he had something amiable and pleasant to greet 
us with. Certainly the Emperor was a born king of men. His 
was a royalty about which there could be no doubt. His smile 
was charming, but when he was displeased he knew how to show it. 
I saw both smile and frown that morning. 

When it came to my turn to be named he asked me where I had 
been educated. I told him at Eton and Oxford. 

" Ah," said His Majesty, " j'ai ete a Oxford. L'orateur public 
a meme prononce un discours en Latin en mon honneur." 

" Dont je suis sur," I answereid, " que votre Majeste n'a pas 
compris un traitre mot " 

The clouds gathered on Jupiter's brow and there was thimder 
in the air. " Who," they said as plainly as speech itself, " is 
this whipper-snapper who dares to say that I, the Emperor of all 
the Russias. am an ignoramus that does not understand Latin ? " 

— " A cause de notre prononciation barbare," I continued. The 
clouds were dispersed, the sun shone again — all was well with the 
world. The Emperor laughed heartily at the expense of the 



Russia 211 

public orator, and his " prononciation barbare," and kept me 
talking for some few minutes. He was always very gracious after- 
wards when I met him at any entertainment, and never failed to 
give me a friendly little nod or word of recognition. 

The surroundings at the presentation to the Empress were far 
more imposing. It took place at night in the great gilt drawing- 
room inside the White ball-room where we assembled, about 
fifteen of us. The rooms were lighted by innumerable candles, 
and no light gives such a look of magnificence. The liveries and 
uniforms were, of course, brilliant, and the Empress' negroes in 
blue and gold jackets with wide oriental trousers looked as if 
they might have been the personal attendants of the Caliph 
Haroun Al Raschid himself. We had to wait some time before 
we were wanted, for the wives of the Italian and Prussian Ministers 
had to be received in audience before us. The Empress was a 
taU, graceful lady with a sweet expression and most charming 
manners. She looked very delicate and, indeed, had bad health, 
suffering, I fear, a great deal ; it is not everybody who can make a 
stand against the climate of St. Petersburg ; to her I was told 
that it was poisonous. 

It must be rather a trial, even for an Empress who has gained 
experience after years of such functions, to walk round a circle 
of men, seen for the first time, and be so ready-witted as to say 
something pleasant to each. But how well she did it ! Every 
man present was under the charm. She had heard of the letter 
which I brought from Countess Apponyi to Princess Kotchoubey 
(it seemed as if everything was known to everybody in this wonder- 
ful capital). She knew Countess Apponyi well and asked a great 
deal after her ; she also talked a good deal about the Prince and 
Princess of Wales. Her grace made conversation quite easy, 
and after a few minutes she made a pretty little bow and passed 
on to the next man. 

The Empress Marie was a Princess of Hesse, daughter of Duke 
Louis II., and *^ her marriage with the Emperor was a pure 
love-match. Indeed it was an open secret that the Emperor 
Nicholas was not best pleased when he heara of the engagement ; 
he had looked for a more brilliant marriage for his son and heir 
VOL. I 14* 



212 Memories 



My father, who was at Frankfort at the time, saw the great, hand- 
some Tsar arrive, and drive out to make acquaintance with his 
future daughter-in-law ; he was looking as stem and as dark as 
Erebus. He came back from the visit, his face wreathed in smiles. 
The sweet Princess, then in the heyday of her youth and beauty, 
had conquered. She had caught the dreaded potentate in the 
network of a charm which was irresistible, and which remained 
a precious possession to the end of time, for it was something that 
the cruel climate which tarnished the freshness of her beauty could 
not impair, much less destroy. 



In writing these sketches I have no pretension to dabble in 
history ; for that I am neither fitted nor documented. All I 
desire is to place on record some memories at first hand of certain 
remarkable people with whom I have been brought in contact. 
In order, however, to understand the state of feeling in Russia 
at the time with which I am dealing, it is impossible not to allude, 
however briefly, to the Polish insurrection of which the influence 
seemed to pervade everything. Poland was in the mouths of 
all men — Poland and the attitude of England. 

The year 1863 had opened grimly enough for Poland. The 
Tsar's brother, the Grand Duke Constantine Nicolaievitch, was 
Viceroy at Warsaw, and the Government had intelligence to the 
effect that the city was a hotbed of conspiracies and intrigues, 
and that an insurrection might be expected to take place at any 
moment. To prevent this calamity drastic measures were 
adopted. A good many years earlier the Emperor Nicholas had 
abolished military conscription in Poland ; it was now determined 
to revive it, but under conditions which would enable the Govern- 
ment to throttle the revolutionary movement by ridding the 
country of all dangerous men. The old practice of drawing the 
conscripts by lot was abandoned, and the authorities were in- 
vested with the power of arbitrarily choosing the men who should 
be taken for service. 

Nor was this the only hardship, for the conscription being 
limited to the towns, Poland was to be robbed of its most capable 



Russia 213 

men, trade and business must be paralysed, and only the most 
ignorant and valueless dregs of the population left behind. Who 
was responsible for this wicked and cruel policy I never heard. 
It was universally condemned abroad, and not a few Russians 
recognized the folly of it. Among the Poles, the Marquis Wielo- 
polski, a former governor-general, was the only man who supported 
it. No man condemned the proceedings of the Government more 
strongly than Lord Napier. In a despatch to the Foreign Office 
of January the 26th he described them as in fact " a design to 
make a clean sweep of the revolutionary youth of Poland ; to 
shut up the most energetic and dangerous spirits in the restraints 
of the Russian army ; it was simply a plan," he said, " to kidnap 
the opposition and carry it off to Siberia or the Caucasus." 

On the evening of the 14th of January the Grand Duke signed 
the decree, and during that night houses were broken into and 
2,500 men were carried off by press-gangs of police and soldiers. 
Where the young men who had been mai'ked down were not forth- 
coming their parents were taken and held as pledges. 

Lord Napier's appreciation of the decree exactly represented 
the feeling with which it was received at Warsaw. The Poles 
were lashed to fury, and the torch of revolution was lighted. A 
so-called Central Committee was formed, which was neither more 
nor less than a secret society issuing its orders for murder and 
arson, orders faithfully obeyed, with every aggravation that the 
ingenuity of cruelty could suggest. 

The mystery of this modem Vehmgericht was well kept. All 
the cunning and vigilance of the Russian police was at fault. No 
man knew who were its members, where they met, or what was 
the machinery with which they worked. Death, swift and secret, 
followed upon their decisions. Their blows fell in darkness, their 
vengeance was assured, and none could tell who would be the 
next victim. Only the murderer was safe, and he only so long as 
he continued to murder without question. To the peasants a 
big bribe was held out — such a bribe as is not imknown in history 
elsewhere. Here is the proclamation of the Central Committee: 

Art. I. Land held under any title whatsoever, corvee 



214 Memories 



rent or otherwise, by small fanners, together with all build- 
ings thereon, becomes from this date the freehold property 
of the holder, without any obligation of rent or otherwise, 
except the duty of pajdng taxes and serving the country. 

Art. 2. The former proprietors will receive compensation 
from the national fimds by means of Government stock. 

Art. 3. The amount of compensation and the nature of 
the stock will be settled by separate decrees. 

Art. 4. All ukases, laws, etc., published by the usurping 
Government on the subject of peasant leases are declared 
nuU and void. 

Art. 5. The present decree applies not only to private 
estates, but also to Crown lands, lands bestowed by the Crown, 
Church property, etc.* 

Such an edict as this, taken in conjunction with the crimes and 
horrors for which the Central Committee was responsible, led to 
reprisals which were hardly less terrible than the deeds which 
they avenged. I do not propose to go into any detail in regard 
to the insurrection. The appointment of Langiewicz as dictator, 
his abandonment of the cause in a way which suggested something 
very like cowardice, his submission to the Austrians at Cracow, 
the rebel bands hiding in the forests, the destruction of railways^ 
the attempt to poison Wielopolski and his family, all the inci- 
dents and tragedies of a great rebellion, make picturesque reading, 
but it must be sought elsewhere. 

It was a reign of terror in Poland, and above all in Lithuania, 
where General Muravieff in his headquarters at Vilna ruled with 
a rod of redhot iron. The indignation of Europe was aroused ; 
but it was largely an ignorant indignation, for whereas the Enghsh 
and French newspapers were generally fed with stories against 
the Russians, there was complete silence as to the provocation 
on the other side. Mr. Sutherland Edwards, the Times corre- 
spondent at Warsaw, a most competent and above all a most 
just witness, told me that there was much exaggeration and much 
invention about the information which was sold to the foreign 

* "Annual Register," 1863. 



Russia 215 

press by certain travelling Jews of the lower sort. News to be 
marketable must be such as would tell against the Government. 
Edwards had no reason to take sides with the Russians, for he 
had just been turned out of Warsaw, bag and baggage, at twenty- 
four hours' notice, but he was far too honest a politician to allow 
any personal treatment of himself to influence him in discussing 
a great question of national importance ; it was a mistake to 
deal with him in so ungenerous a fashion, but it was only one 
among many mistakes. 

There were many Russians, loyal subjects to the Tsar and 
enthusiastically devoted to their own country, who recognized 
and deplored those mistakes. Above all, these just men viewed 
with indignation the barbarous methods of General Muravieff, 
the man who, above all others, was responsible for the feeling 
aroused in the rest of Europe. Prince Suvoroff, the Governor- 
General of St. Petersburg, a great friend and favourite of the 
Emperor, spoke out bravely about this. A subscription had 
been set on foot to present Muravieff with a statue of the 
Virgin Mary in silver, for which the Metropolitan found the 
inscription, " Thy name is Victory." The subject was 
being discussed at Tsarskoe Selo at the Imperial table, when 
Prince Suvoroff declared aloud that " he could not understand 
men giving a blessed image to a hangman." These bold words, 
uttered unrebuked in the presence of the Tsar, created a great 
sensation, and induced many men to speak their minds more 
openly than they had up to then dared to do. It showed also 
that the Emperor — essentially a good and humane ruler, as he 
proved to be over and over again — while determined to put down 
the rebellion, abhorred the methods that were being adopted, 
otherwise Prince Suvoroff's speech would not have been passed 
over. The downfall of Muravieff was considered to be imminent. 
He was not recalled, however, until April, 1865, being raised to 
the rank of Coimt, and he died the following year at his country 
place, Surez, near Luga. A bronze statue of him was erected 
in Vilna in 1898. 

Meanwhile Edwards, whose banishment from Warsaw had 
removed a man who was truly desirous of sending home a fair 



2i6 Memories 



and honest account of affairs, thus giving a free hand to more 
unscrupulous writers, was being shadowed by spies who took 
note of all his visitors. My Russian master, who also gave him 
lessons — a mild, harmless little man, who had taught the great 
Bismarck — ^was followed home one day as a very suspicious char- 
acter. It would have been laughable if it had not been so sad. 
All this trouble taken to hinder and annoy a man whose sole object 
was to check the prosperity of lies ! These flourished accordingly. 

Political crises are always fruitful in exaggeration and false- 
hood. Never, perhaps, were they so rife as during the Polish 
insurrection ; the coimtry was wild and inaiccessible, information 
vague and uncertain, chaffered as an article of trade by news- 
pedlars, carried from great distances and losing nothing by the 
way ; horrors were invented for hungry Usteners — and there was 
no one to contradict. Truth remained hiding at the very lowest 
depths of her well. Take, for instance, the trial of Count Zamoyski, 
about which the English newspapers were greatly excited, one 
paper going as far as to say that he had been condemned to death 
on the strength of confessions extracted from him by torture whilst 
he was in prison. As a matter of fact no man could have had 
a fairer trial. He was found guilty of rebellion — as to that there 
could be no denial. It was abundantly proved that he had been 
a member of the Central Committee and privy to all its so-called 
decrees and ordinances. He was sentenced to banishment from 
Poland, took up his residence in France, and finally went to Cracow, 
where he died in his bed at the good old age of seventy-four. No 
milder sentence could well have been passed upon him. 

As for the stories of torture which were freely put about, most 
searching investigations on the spot proved that there was no 
shadow of foundation for them. Great severities were practised, 
especially in Lithuania under General Muravieff ; floggings as 
judicial punishments in execution of sentences officially pro- 
nounced were frequent ; but no evidence was ever produced to 
show that flogging had been used for the purpose of extracting evi- 
dence, and as for instruments of torture they simply did not exist. 

The Poles were past-masters in the art of exciting dramatic 
emotion and surrounding base crimes with a political halo. Some 



Russia 21 ~ 

scoundrel would be condemned to death for murder, rapine, arson 
or some other abomination. Immediately he was glorified into 
a political hero and martyr. Such canonizations are not unknown 
elsewhere. All Warsaw turned out in deep mourning to do him 
honour, and witness the sacrifice. Ladies of the highest rank, 
robed and veiled in crape, weeping bitterly, knelt on the public 
place to offer up prayers for the soul of the victim. Impartial 
men with strong nerves told me that they had been so affected 
by such a scene that they forgot for the moment that they were 
witnessing the just expiation of a hideous crime ; half stupefied 
as in a dream, they saw the death of a Christian martyr. The 
excellence of the stage management had its effect. Popular resent- 
ment against the Government was stimulated, and, what was still 
more important to the agitators, the kind hearts of foreign corre- 
spondents were touched, so that the most harrowing stories were 
launched out east and west, north and south, stirring animosities 
and calling up political hatred in all its bitterness. 

The excitement aroused in England and France amounted to 
intoxication ; but it was an uninformed excitement, for it is no 
exaggeration to say that there was not one man in ten thousand 
who had taken the pains to read up the causes that had led up 
to the insurrection and its repression, and still fewer who had 
any knowledge of the complicated history of the deadly feud 
between the two races, a feud which had lasted for centuries. 

The late Lord Salisbury was one of those few. In April, 1863, 
he published an article on Poland, which he followed up in the 
same month of the following year by another paper on Foreign 
Policy. Both were republished in book form by Mr. Murray in 
1905. The first article gives a short and clear history of the 
whole question ; the second is a scathing condemnation of Lord 
Russell's treatment of international affairs, especially in the two 
cases of Poland and the Danish duchies. Considering what has 
taken place since that time, the outcome of Lord Russell's policy, 
every student of foreign politics should make himself acquainted 
with those two articles written by a great master. 

I have shown how numbers of generously-minded Russians 
disavowed and repudiated the methods of repression which had 



21^ Memories 



been adopted, especially in Lithuania. None the less was all 
Russia of one mind as to the imperative necessity of putting down 
the insurrection. Every thinking man knew that it was a matter 
of life and death to his country ; in a despatch from which I shall 
quote presently Prince Gortchakoff showed that very clearly. If 
the Poles were to become dominant there would be a repetition in 
provinces largely inhabited by Russians of the horrors which took 
place two centuries earlier when they were in possession of Moscow, 
and of which a foretaste had already been given in the murders 
and attempts to murder of the last few months. Austrian Poland 
and Prussian Poland must be drawn into the furnace and a general 
conflagration ensue. 

But Lord Russell " cared for none of these things." Here wa . a 
rare opportunity for him to give effect to his favourite policy of 
" meddle and muddle " (I do not know who invented the phrase 
in his honoxir, but how good it was !) and he availed himself of it 
freely. 

The state of pubhc feeling in England and France fully justified 
a friendly intercession by the Governments of both countries, pray- 
ing the Tsar to exercise his clemency on behalf of the rebellious 
Poles. But it did not justify Lord Russell in adopting the hectoring 
language which he used, language not only reading Russia a lesson 
as to how she should govern in her own dominions, but even convey- 
ing threats as to what might happen if his advice were not followed. 
His conduct of the affair not only infuriated the Russians, but also 
alienated the French Government, who were greatly displeased at 
having been brought into a ridiculous position. 

On the 2nd of March, 3:863, Lord Russell wrote a despatch to 
Lord Napier, of course for presentation to Prince Gortchakoff, in 
which, on the strength of the fact that " the Kingdom o: Poland 
was constituted and placed in connexion with the Russian Empire 
by the Treaty of 1815, to which Great Britain was a contracting 
party," he claimed the right of Great Britain " to express its opinion 
upon the events now taking place," and in rather slipshod language, 
such as might be adopted by a schoolboy mediating in a football 
squabble, went on to offer his amiable advice to the Emperor: 
" Why should not His Imperial Majesty, whose benevolence is 



Russia 219 

generally and cheerfully acknowledged, put an end to this bloody 
conflict," etc., etc. 

On the loth of April he returned to the charge, in a despatch the 
phraseology of which Lord Salisbury described as being " as menac- 
ing as will often be found in despatches even of a professedly hostile 
character," once more insisting that the Emperor's position as 
regards the Poles was due to the grace and favour of the Treaty of 
Vienna, and quite different to what it would have been had His 
Majesty held Poland as part of the original dominions of the Crown, 
or if he had acquired it by the unassisted success of his army and 
unsanctioned by the consent of any other Power, etc., etc. The 
formal declaration that Russia had broken her treaty engagements, 
the intimation that she had not fulfilled her duties of comity as a 
member of the community of nations, the distinct statement that 
the course she was pursuing was dangerous to the general peace of 
Europe, " and might under possible circumstances produce compli- 
cations of the most serious nature — all these expressions, inter- 
preted by diplomatic usage, were simple threats of war."* 

These threats were accentuated by a conversation which Lord 
Russell reported as having taken place between himself and Baron 
Brunnow, the Russian Ambassador. Baron Brunnow said there 
was one question, which he felt entitled to ask, and that was whether 
the communication Her Majesty's Government were about to make 
at St. Petersburg was of a pacific nature. I replied that it was, but 
that as I did not wish to mislead him I must say something more. 
Her Majesty's Government had no intentions that were otherwise 
than pacific, still less any concert with other Powers for any but 
pacific purposes. 

" But the state of things might change. The present overture of 
Her Majesty's Government might be rejected as the representation of 
March 2nd had been re j ected by the Imperial Government. The insur- 
rection in Poland might continue and might assume larger proportions ; 
the atrocities on both sides might be aggravated, and extended to 
a wider range of country. If in such a state of affairs the Emperor 
of Russia were to take no steps of a conciliatory nature, dangers 
and complications might arise not at present in contemplation." 
* Lord Salisbury — " Foreign Policy," p. 198. 



220 Memories 



" If this was not a threat of war," says Lord Salisbury, " language 
has no meaning." Every one of these mights and might he's did 
occur, but the threats remained mere gas. Prince Gortchakoff, 
cool, calm, and courteous, refused with firmness to acknowledge 
any of Lord Russell's pretensions. 

In the meantime, in the nionth of April the Emperor made the 
offer of an amnesty to Poland, granting " a free pardon to all those 
of our subjects in the Kingdom implicated in the late troubles 
who have not incurred the responsibility of other crimes or mis- 
demeanours committed on service in the ranks of our army, and who 
may before the ist (13th) of May lay down their arms and return to 
their allegiance." This offer the Central Committee, who now 
called themselves the Provisional Government, in insulting terms 
contemptuously refused. They published a proclamation which said : 

" Poland is well aware what confidence she can place in this 
pretended amnesty, and in the promises of the Russian Government. 
But to avoid any mistake, we formally declare that we reject all 
these false concessions. It was not with the intention of obtaining 
more or less liberal concessions that we took up arms, but to get 
rid of the detested yoke of a foreign government, and to reconquer 
our ancient and complete independence." 

The treatment by the Poles of the Emperor's magnanimous offer 
furnished the answer to the officious advice given by Lord Russell. 

There was one class of unfortunates who suffered by the Polish 
insurrection of whom little or nothing has been said or written, and 
whose troubles have therefore excited no commiseration out of 
Russia. The landed proprietors of Poland, wishing to introduce 
into the country improved agricultural methods, imported from 
Germany a number of Protestant labourers. These men during 
the rebellion were persecuted with all the animosity of bigoted 
Catholicism and conscious inferiority by the Schliachta, or petty 
nobility, seconded by the jealousy of the peasants, who naturally 
looked upon them as interlopers — " blacklegs " as men say nowa- 
days — and as having no right to cumber the country. Their 
dwellings were destroyed, their families murdered, and the survivors 
dared not go back to their homes. 

The Imperial Government, having been compelled to take the case 



Russia 221 

in hand, resolved to send i,8oo of these poor fellows to the govern- 
ment of Samatra, a rich province to which many of the exiled Poles 
had already been sent. There is no doubt that if the Russians 
acted with severity, the Poles outdid them in cruelty. The two 
were well matched, and-'between them it is fearful to think what 
must have been the general average of misery ! 

I have alluded above to what Prince Suvoroff said of General 
Muravieff. A little later in the year another scheme was set on foot 
by certain ultra-Russians to build a church at Vilna and dedicate 
it to St. Michael, Muravieff' s patron saint, in honour of the glory 
of the General and to celebrate his quelling of the insurrection in 
Lithuania. The plan met with much opposition, and the Marechal 
de la Noblesse of the district of Tsarskoe Selo, on being invited to 
support the project, wrote an indignant letter in reply, asking what 
conduct on his part could have led the originators to suppose that 
he approved the actions of the General. General Muravieff stood 
in a peculiar position for an officer holding a high command under a 
despotic government. The authorities accepted his services and so 
gave their moral support and countenance to his policy ; but they 
took no steps to defend him from the animadversions of his enemies, 
nor did any Russian feel that he was committing an indiscretion in 
openly canvassing the conduct of the tyrant of Vilna. 

All this showed that the Russians were enjoying far greater 
li berty of both press and speech than was believed abroad. In ihis 
respect there was a marked change since the last reign. Speech was 
free enough, sometimes startlingly so. There was a certain amount 
of censorship of the journalistic press ; but as regards literature in 
general, books were openly sold which under Nicholas no bookseller 
would have dared to stock upon his shelves. 

With this arrow in his quiver Prince Gortchakoff wrote: "If 
Lord Russell followed attentively the productions of the Press 
devoted to the Polish rebellion, he must be aware that the insur- 
gents demand neither an amnesty, nor an autonomy, nor a repre- 
sentation either more or less complete. The absolute independence 
of the Kingdom even would be for them only a means for arriving 
at the final object of their aspirations. This object is dominion over 



222 Memories 



provinces where the immense majority are Russians by race or by 
religion ; in a word, it is Poland extended to the two seas, which 
would inevitably bring about a claim to the Polish provinces 
belonging to other neighbouring Powers. 

" We desire to pronounce no judgment upon these aspirations. It 
suffices for us to prove that they exist, and that the Polish insurgents 
do not conceal them. The final result in which they would arrive 
cannot be doubtful. It would be a general conflagration which the 
elements of disorder scattered through all countries would be brought 
to complicate, and which seek for an opportunity to subvert Europe." 
' One would have imagined that the dignified and lofty tone adopted 
by the Prince, combined with the avowed pretensions of the rebels, 
would have convinced Lord Russell that his interference would not 
be accepted, and could only end in the humiliation of England. 
Nothing could stop Lord Russell. 

On the 17th of June he again wrote a despatch to Lord Napier 
with instructions to read it to Prince Gortchakoff, and leave a 
copy with him. That despatch was perhaps one of the most inso- 
lent communications ever addressed to a friendly Power ; no govern- 
ment could admit the interference of another country in dictating 
the measures which it should take for the maintenance of law and 
order among its own people, which is the exclusive right and duty of 
every independent Power, nor is it intelligible that any such advice 
should be offered unless the candid friend should be prepared to 
enforce it at the cannon's mouth. The despatch in question was the 
one which formulated the famous " six points." This is what it said : 

" In> present circumstances it appears to Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment that nothing less than the following outline of measures should 
De adopted as the bas^s of pacification ■. 

" I. Complete and general amnesty. 
"2. National representation, with powers similar to those 
which are fixed by the Charter of the 15th (27th) of November, 
1815. 

" 3. Poles to be named to public offices in such a manner 
as to form a distinct national administration, having the confi- 
dence of the country. 



Russia 223 

" 4. Full and entire liberty of conscience ; repeal of the 
restrictions imposed on Catholic worship. 

" 5. The Polish language recognized in the kingdom as 
the official language, and used as such in the administration 
of the law and in education. 

" 6. The establishment of a regular and legal system of 
recruiting. 
" These six points might serve as the indications of measures to 
be adopted, after calm and full deliberation. 

" What Her Majesty's Government propose, therefore, consists 
in these three propositions : 

" ist. The adoption of the six points enumerated as bases 
of negotiation. 

" 2nd. A provisional suspension of arms to be proclaimed 
by the Emperor of Russia. 

" 3rd. A conference of the eight Powers who signed the 
Treaty of Vienna." 

Prince Gortchakoff' s answer was crushing, the more so as it was 
couched in the most courteous language of diplomacy, and was 
based upon an unanswerable chain of logical arguments. Lord Rus- 
sell was very quietly shown that he was dealing with matters which 
he did not understand and with which he had no concern. Similar 
communications were addressed to Baron Budberg, the Russian Am- 
bassador at Paris, for the bpnefit of M. Drouyn de Lhuys, the French 
Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had the mortification of finding 
himself compelled to share in a humiliation which was odious to him. 

A despatch to Baron Budberg contained the following words : 
" As regards the responsibility which His Majesty may assume in 
his international relations, those relations are regulated by inter- 
national law. The violation of those principles may alone lead to a 
responsibility. Our august Master has always respected and 
observed these principles towards other States. His Majesty has 
the right to expect and to demand the same respect on the part of 
the other Powers." M. Drouyn de Lhuys was furious, and it was 
not long, as we shall see, before he had the opportunity to make 
Lord Russell feel it 



224 Memories 



Lord Russell climbed down not handsomely. In a despatch to 
Lord Napier of the nth of August he said : " If Russia does not 
perform all that depends upon her to further the moderate and 
conciliatory views of the three Powers " [Great Britain, Austria 
and France] " if she does not enter upon the path which is opened 
to her by friendly counsels, she makes herself responsible for the 
serious consequences which the prolongation of the troubles of 
Poland may produce." 

And that was the lame and impotent conclusion of a game of 
brag and insolent bluster which had been carried on for many 
months. The fizzling out of a damp squib ! 

But there is one story which Mr. Hennessy, Conservative member 
lor King's County, told in the House of Commons, and was never 
contradicted, which is too good and too characteristic to be 
omitted — I take it verbatim from Lord Sahsbury's essay on 
Foreign Politics, p. 202. 

" When Prince Gortchakoff's last defiance had arrived, and the 
Government had made up their minds to practise the better part 
of valour, Lord Russell made a speech at Blairgowrie, and being 
somewhat encouraged and cheered by the various circumstances 
of consolation which are administered by an entertainment of 
that kind, he recovered after dinner somewhat of his wonted 
courage, and under the influence of the valour so acquired he 
proclaimed that, in his opinion, Russia had sacrificed her treaty 
right to Poland. Having made the statement thus publicly, he 
felt that he could not do less than insert it into the despatch to 
Prince Gortchakoff, with whom it w£is proposed to terminate the 
inglorious correspondence. He flattered himself, indeed, that 
so hostile an announcement, while not leading actually to a war, 
might enable him to ride off with something like a flourish, which 
his friends might construe into a triumph. 

" And so the despatch was sent off, formally bringing the corre- 
spondence to a close, and concluding with the grandiose announce- 
ment that, in the opinion of the British Government, Russia had 
torfeited the title to Poland which she had acquired by the Treaty 
of Vienna. But even this modest attempt to escape from disgrace 



Russia 225 

was not destined to succeed. When the despatch reached St. 
Petersburg, it was shown to Prince Gortchakoff before being for- 
mally presented. ' You had better not present this concluding 
sentence to me,' is reported to have been the Prince's brief but 
significant observation. The hint was taken, the despatch was 
sent back to England and submitted anew to the Foreign Secretary. 
Doubtless with disgust, but bowing to his inexorable destiny, he 
executed this new act of self-abasement. The oflEending sentence 
was erased by its author with the resolution of a Christian martyr. 
In this form it was sent back to Russia ; and it still bears, as 
published to the world, in the bald mutilation of the paragraph 
with which it concludes and in the confusion of its dates, the marks 
of its enforced and reluctant revision." 

The confusion of the dates is very significant. The despatch 
was originally dated in September and refers to the despatch of 
August nth, as of the iiih ultimo. As accepted by the Prince it 
was dated in October, but still refers to the August despatch as 
of the nth ultimo. 

The humiliation of England was complete. We had threatened 
and we had not performed. We had encouraged the Poles to 
believe that they might count upon our protection, and when we 
found that something more than brave words would be needed, we 
deserted them. That was the view taken abroad of Lord Russell's 
policy. It was treated with derision and contempt. In Russia 
there was at that time a very strong feeling of friendliness towards 
the English. But it was a social friendship, not a political appre- 
ciation, and I believe that was largely, perhaps one might say 
entirely, due to the great personal charm and popularity of Lord 
and Lady Napier. As a power to be reckoned with we had ceased 
to exist. 

I remember upon one occasion my old friend, the Marquis de 
Montebello, who was afterwards French Ambassador at St. Peters- 
burg (as his father had been before him) saying, " Autrefois lorsqu'il 
s'agissait d'une guerre en Europe on vous consultait. Aujourd'hui 
on vous dit — zut ! " My answer to him was, " Don't be top sure 
— Lord Russell is not England." 

******* 
voT I 15 



226 Memories 



General Cassius Clay was United States Minister in Russia at 
the time of which I am writing. He was rather a notorious person 
whose name Punch had, owing to his virulent abuse of England, 
translated into Brutus Mud. One day General Clay came up to 
me and began speaking in the friendliest way about England. 
After some generalities he turned the conversation on to the 
Polish question, belauding Lord Russell's despatches, which he 
said had made " his old Anglo-Saxon blood boil in his veins when 
he saw the magnanimous attitude of an Enghsh statesman." I 
don't think that clinical thermometers had been invented in those 
days, but it would have been interesting to have taken the tem- 
perature of the good Genertd's " Anglo-Saxon blood " when he 
came to read the final collapse of all the bluster. 

The insurrection died a not altogether natural death in 1864. 
It had been a hopeless affair from the first, and the moral influence 
of a secret Treaty concluded between Prussia and Russia* ex- 
tinguished the last embers of the fire. Bands of peasants, undrilled, 
armed with scythes and with such primitive weapons as might 
come to hand, lurking houseless, half starved and miserably clothed 
in the frozen mazes of pathless forests, could not for long resist the 
trained battalions of the Tsar and the curse of the climate. 
Langiewicz saw that the last trick in the game had been trumped, 
and the dictator left the poor wretches to their fate. 

I have one more tale to tell of the Polish revolution. The race 
of Bobadils is not extinct. For them proclamations of neutrality 
are things of no account, at which they snap their fingers ; so 
long as matters go well with them they are as truculent as their 
own swords ; but once let them fall into difficulties and be taken 
prisoners, their cries are piteous, and the Foreign Offices of 
their various countries are besieged with prayers that their 
Ambassadors may be instructed to interfere on their behalf. 

One day, when the Polish insurrection was still ablaze, there 
came a batch of telegrams to the Embassy directing Lord Napier 
to plead on behalf of a certain English gentleman who, having been 
taken red-handed in some murderous attack, would be tried by 
court martial and shot unless some pressure could be brought to 
• Brockhaus — "Conversations Lexicon," Art. Polen. 



Russia 227 

bear on his behalf. Lord Napier knew that it would be useless 
to enter into a diplomatic correspondence on the subject, so he at 
once asked for an audience of the Tsar, which was immediately 
granted. It was not a pleasant duty. 

On his return from the palace he told me that when he acquainted 
the Emperor with the object of his visit, His Majesty looked very 
black and deeply displeased ; he said that he could have great 
sympathy with his own misguided subjects who were persuaded 
by agitators into the belief that they were suffering from grievous 
wrongs at his hands ; but what excuse could be made for the 
subject of a friendly Power who came to add fuel to the flame ? 
Lord Napier pointed out that there was just this excuse for the 
gentleman, that his mother was a Pole, and he prayed earnestly 
for mercy. In the end the Tsar, as a special favour to Lord Napier, 
granted him a free pardon — of course on parole to leave Poland 
and not again to take part in the rebellion. It was a generous 
and kingly act, a gracious favour to Lord Napier, and a proof of 
the esteem in which my much-loved chief was held.* 

The Emperor Alexander was a most magnanimous ruler. Many 
and signal were the proofs of the love which he bore his people. 
His liberation of the serfs, a measure of humanity which has 
perhaps never been exceeded, and which in 1864 he extended to 
Poland, in spite of all that had occurred, bore eloquent testimony to 
his generosity. And at the time when I was in Russia the people 
returned his love with interest. He was to them like a divinity. 

Many and many a time have I seen the mujiks in the dead of 
winter standing bareheaded, facing a cruel blast coming down the 
river from the Ladoga Lake, until the Emperor's sledge should be 
out of sight — a little, simple one-horse sledge, without any guard, 
nor even an aide-de-camp. He was better protected by the love 
of his people than he could have been by all the myrmidons of 
his police. There were no Nihilists in those days ; the word had 
been coined by Dostoievski, the novelist, but in another sense. 

• Curiously enough, by one of those ineptitudes for which private secre- 
taries are famous, the brother of this very gentleman, the son of a Polish 
mother, had been shortly before attached to the British Embassy at 
St. Petersburg. 

VOL. I 15* 



228 Memories 



Years afterwards, when the news came of the hideous murder of 
the great Tsar, looking back upon those loyal times, I could not 
believe my ears. It was incomprehensible. So barbarous did 
it seem — so barbarous and withal so foolish. 

Surely no man was ever more truly a prophet in his own country 
than was Prince Gortchakoff at St. Petersburg in the autumn of 
1863. His popularity was something phenomenal, and for a great 
deal of it he had to thank Lord Russell. Praise of the Russian 
answers was in all mouths, and Prince Gortchakoff was the idol 
of the moment, so much so, indeed, that there were some Ul- 
natured persons who hinted rather loudly that the Emperor was 
growing a little jealous of his Minister's popularity, and that there 
had been one or two evil quarters of hours. I am not sure that 
I was not the witness of one myself. It was at a great party where 
the Emperor was playing cards. The Prince went up to His 
Majesty with a very low bow ; the Emperor turned sharp round 
upon him, showing all his teeth, literally, with the growl of an 
angry lion, and the poor old gentleman's discomfiture was not 
pleasant to behold. Many people, of course, saw the affair, and it 
was much discussed in salons and chancelleries. 

The first time that I saw Prince Gortchakoff come into a draw- 
ing-room I looked round for Mr. Winkle, Mr. Tracy Tupman and 
the poet Snodgrass, for here was Mr. Pickwick in person. Barring 
the white kerseymere smalls and the black gaiters, the likeness 
was complete. The round, good-humoured face. Very pink and 
white, thin grey hair, eyes beaming rays of human kindness out 
of a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, a most genial smile, the per- 
fection of good manners, pleasant to everybody — altogether a most 
engaging personality. Small wonder that St. Petersburg loved 
him not only for his great qualities, but also for his small foibles, 
li.>r did not these give endless opportunities to Tutcheff, the Sydney 
Smith of Russia ? Vanity was always said to be the Prince's 
strongest weakness. One night, at a dinner at which I was 
present, the talk turned upon the three famous despatches. 
Somebody said : 

" Lorsque le Prince Gortchakoff veut se procurer un vrai plaisir 
il fait venir un de ses secretaires pour lui lire ses trois depSches. 



Russia 229 

Alors il se jette dans un fauteuil, ferme les yeux, et a tout I'air 
d'un homme qui " , 

" Effectivement," interrupted TutchefL " C'est le Narcisse 
qui se mire dans son encrier." 

The fun of the thing was that everybody knew that, although 
of course the despatches represented his policy, he had not written 
a word of them. They were drafted by a certain M. Katakazy, 
a very clever writer, who was afterwards Minister at Washington, 
whence, for some reason or other, he was recalled, and so far as I 
know, disappeared. At all events we heard no more of him. 

On one occasion, before the Washington mission, the Prince, who, 
moved by some .caprice, had wished to get rid of Katakazy, sent 
for him and told him that he thought the time had come when he 
should send him abroad. Katakazy, who did not wish to go, and 
who could play upon his chief as Paganini could upon a Stradi- 
varius, thanked him warmly, and expressed his joy at being given 
the opportunity of telling the world how great was the man whom 
he had had the honour to serve so long as secretary. The Prince 
chortled and said, in his purring way : " Well, perhaps I should 
miss your cleverness, so you had better stay." 

There was another claim to renown which M. Katakazy pos- 
sessed — one of which he was perhaps even more proud than he 
was of that of being the champion despatch writer and protocolist 
of the Russian Foreign Oflfice. All of us who knew our Paris in the 
late fifties and early sixties (alas !) remember the famous waiter 
in the Cafe de la Rotonde whose " Bourn ! " in answer to the cry 
of " Gar f on ! " rolled out in a deep bass voice that made all the 
cups and saucers and spoons and glasses rattle on the marble tables, 
made the fortune of the " patron " of the establishment. His 
fame lives, for our beloved Du Manner has celebrated him in his 
masterpiece " Trilby." M. Katakazy's mimicry of this hero was 
the delight of St. Petersburg. He had, moreover, a very hand- 
some wife, and that is always an asset for a diplomatist and private 
secretary. 

Here is another of the Prince's harmless little vainglorious 
speeches. One day he called at the British Embassy with his son 
Michel, whom he presented to Lady Napier in the following words : 



230 Memories 



" Permettez, Madame, que je vous presente le brulot que je 
viens de lancer dans le monde." 

Poor little brulot! destined neither to set the Thames nor the 
Neva on fire ! 

As the Prince was a widower, a lady who was a relation of his, 
used to do the honours for him at his parties, and she had her 
private apartments in his official residence. This lady had a great 
friend, an officer in one of the Guards' regiments. One evening, 
when Prince Gortchakoff had a great official banquet, Tutcheff, 
who was one of the guests, as he drove up to the grand entrance 
saw this officer being admitted at the private door. As he reached 
the drawing-room, he heard the Prince making the lady's excuses 
for not being present. " Figurez-vous son desespoir ! EUe est 
retenue chez elle par une affreuse migraine." " Ah, oui ! " said 
Tutcheff the cruel, " je I'ai vue, sa migraine, qui montait chez elle 
au moment oii je descendais de mon traineau." Of course the 
story was all over the town the next morning. 

The pleasantest salon of St. Petersburg in my day was that of 
Princess Kotchoubey. Her palace, the Dom Belaselski, had what 
I should think must be the finest staircase of any private house 
in the world. The guest-rooms were furnished with a magnificence 
which made one open one's eyes very wide indeed. In one of the 
smaller and more intimate rooms the Princess used to sit every 
evening, dispensing tea to a small coterie of friends, essentially a 
political assemblage, hardly ever more than a dozen. Prince 
Gortchakoff was almost always there ; Lord Napier and one or 
two of the ambassadors very often. Admission to this very choice 
gathering was a privilege much coveted and rarely attained ; I 
gained it by the grace and favour of Countess Appon5d, the 
Austrian Ambassadress in London, who was Princess Kotchoubey 's 
sister, and gave me a letter for her, to which I have already 
alluded, and which stood me in good stead, for it turned out to 
be a passport to all that was most distinguished in Russian 
society. 

One evening Prince Gortchakoff brought Khalil Bey (afterwards 
Khalil Pasha), the Turkish Ambassador, to present him to the 
Princess. A great lady present, who could be very haughty and. 



Russia 231 

indeed, insolent when she chose, put on her most Lady Disdain 
air, and said in her pretty sing-song French : 

" Je suppose. Monsieur I'Ambassadeur, que vous avez et6 bien 
frappe de tout ce que vous avez vu ici." 

" Mais de quoi done, Madame ? " 

" De notre belle ville, de nos quais, de nos palais, de toute notre 
civilisation, enfin." 

" Mais non, Madame," answered the witty Turk, who was 
Tutcheff's rival in repartee. " Vous savez qu'en Turquie nous 
sommes aussi excessivement arri^res," with the sweetest smile he 
sat down and drank a triumphant cup of tea. But the lady was 
not so happy ; she had attacked the wrong man. 

Khalil Bey was always amusing, but sometimes his wit was 
apt to be a little cruel. There was a certain Madame R. K., 
known as La Venus Tartare, an extraordinarily beautiful woman 
of the Kalmuck type, with the figure of a Juno. She had 
brought out a book palled " Un Hiver a Paris," which she had 
persuaded Th^ophUe Gautier, Madame Georges Sand and one 
other French man of letters (I think my old friend Octave 
Feuillet) to write for her in collaboration, she publishing it as her 
own, though she had not penned a word of it. Everybody knew 
this, but that did not raise a blush in her, and it came out with, 
as a frontispiece, a photograph of Madame R. K.'s back, decollete 
almost down to the waist. She was good enough to send me a 
copy of it, and I went to thank her. As we were sitting discussing 
the book, who should be announced but the Turkish Ambassador. 

" Ah," said Madame R. K., " nous parlions justement de mon 
livre. L'avez-vous lu ? " 

" Non, Madame ! — et vous ? " was Khalil Bey's biting answer, 
uttered with the demurest face of innocence ; but the so-called 
Bulgarian atrocities of his countrymen in later years were not 
more barbarously searching. I felt so sorry for the poor beautiful 
V^nus Tartare. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE WINTER OF 1863-4 

THERE is an old saying and a true one, that in Russia you 
see the winter and in Italy you feel it. In the one case 
the houses are so beautifully warmed and so many precautions 
are taken, that men can laugh at the climate ; in Italy, on the 
other hand, the equipment is all for summer, and winter may 
torture as it pleases. t 

In St. Petersburg the year 1863 died a glorious death. The 
month of December was brilliant and we " saw the winter " in all 
its beauty. Two or three blizzards had brought the roads into 
ideal condition. Smoothly and noiselessly the sledges flew over 
the white velvet of the yet undeiiled virgin snow ; the crisp air 
was full of energy generously dispensed ; the cheery cries of the 
fat coachmen, made stiU fatter by the padding under their heavy 
furs, their beards frozen stiff and stark; the tinkling bell-music 
of the Orloff trotters ; the monotonous chants of the mujiks sitting 
in their sleigh-carts ; the sparkling city liung with festoons of ice- 
opals flashing back the glory of the short-lived winter sun; great 
ladies dashing past in their troikas, nothing to be seen of any one 
of them but just a little pink nose peeping out of the muffling sea- 
otter furs and sables; the glittering shops full of customers 
choosing etrennes — everybody busy and eager, making ready to 
speed the parting, welcome the coming year. 

Far away in the ice-bound morasses of Lithuania, in the gloomy 
forests of Poland, there might still be here and there the crack 
of a rifle, some desultory fighting, some himting of rebels and 
murderers instead of wolves and bears ; but the capital of Peter 

232 



The Winter of 1863-64 233 

the Great was deaf and blind to all tragedy. There could be no 
gayer city in the world ; certainly none where the foreign diploma- 
tists were so hospitably treated ; our lives were a round of 
festivities in the very home of joyous revelry. 

In the daytime, on those rare occasions when we were not busy 
at the Embassy, there were skating parties, picnics to the Islands, 
and the chance of breaking our necks on the Montagnes Russes. 
The gardens of the Tauride, which were reserved for the Imperial 
Family and a few — very few — grandees, were open to us. In the 
evening we dined and danced and supped and danced again. The 
opera and the French Theatre Michel were a perfect blaze of jewels, 
smart dresses, the masterpieces of Paris, brilliant uniforms and 
decorations ; the black coats of Ambassadors and civilian Ministers 
sprinkled here and there the only sad notes. 

On the 12th of January I was invited by Princess Kotchoubey 
to " await the new year," which, of course, is, according to the old 
style, our 13th. Curiously enough, the old style was observed 
even in the English Church, so that the Christmas Day services 
were held on the 7th of January, according to our reckoning. I 
have told elsewhere of the magnificence of the Princess' palace, 
but this entertainment quite exceeded anything that I had ever 
seen or heard of. There were only about fifty guests, but these 
were all the chief personages of St. Petersburg, including Prince 
Gortchakoff, who, as was his wont, appropriated to himself the 
youngest and prettiest lady present, for the old Vice-Chancellor 
was a great flirt. He was not yet Chancellor, for at the death 
of Count Nesselrode in March, 1862. the Tsar would not fill the 
office. His Majesty was reported to have said that " Nesselrode 
was one thing, Gortchakoff another." This was a great mortifica- 
tion to the Prince, and gave occasion to some wit for the saying 
that Prince Gortchakoff was the man of the most virtuous inclina- 
tions in the whole Empire, " parcequ'il cherche toujours a se 
debarrasser de son Vice." Another great celebrity who was 
present was Count Schuvaloff, the grand marshal of the Court, a 
noble old man, the father of Count Peter Schuvaloff who was 
afterwards Ambassador in London and with Prince Gortchakoff 
represented Russia at the Congress of Berlin. 



234 Memories 



On the stroke of midnight came a procession of gorgeous foot- 
men, bearing trays with glasses filled with champagne, and we all 
clinked our goblets together, drinking prosperity to the New Year. 
Then followed a pretty old Russian custom. Every guest went 
up to the hostess and kissed her hand, and she went through the 
form of pretending to kiss each of her friends on the forehead in 
return. It seemed a pity not to carry out so graceful and pictur- 
esque a tradition in its entirety. But though Princess Kotchoubey 
did no more than bow over her guests' foreheads as they stooped 
to kiss her hand, her reception of them was grace itself. She was 
a Queen in her palace, and we, her subjects for the nonce, did 
willing homage to her. 

It seemed little short of a miracle to step out of the iron grip of 
a Russian New Year's Eve into a fairyland in which all the treasures 
of the world were sampled — the diamonds of Golconda, the 
rubies of Burmah, the turquoises of Persia, pearls from the Eastern 
Seas, tapestries of the Gobelins, gold and silver masterpieces of 
famous Florentine and French artists, flowers and fruit of June 
and July, the warmth of summer with not a fire to be seen, lighted 
up by myriads of candles disposed in a way of which Russia alone 
seemed to have the secret. And in all this magnificence there was 
only one tiny omission, one little blot to remind us that we were 
human, and that humanity is imperfect : there were no salt' 
spoons ! 

After supper I had some talk with Prince Gortchakofi, who was 
always very kind to me, and often used to come up and have a 
little chat when we met in society. We naturally taJked about 
the New Year's Day festivities, and he went on to expatiate on the 
religiosity of the Russian mind, and how to every man in the 
country Russia was Holy Russia. 

He said that few people knew how deeply this feeling was in- 
grained in the minds of the mujiks, to whom it was a horror to 
think that they might be buried anywhere but in their own coimtry. 
He gave as an instance of this the case of a Russian who, when 
the Prince was Secretary of Legation in London, was coachman 
in the service of the Duke of Devonshire. The man asked for 
him one day at the Legation. On the Prince inquiring what he 

I 



The Winter of 1863-64 235 



wanted, he said that he wanted to go back home. " What ! " said 
the Prince, " leave so good a place and so good a master. Of 
what have you to complain ? " The man said, " Of nothing — 
but I am afraid lest I should die here and be buried out of Holy 
Russia." So close was his attachment to the sacred soil that 
though there was no other cause for nostalgia, and he was perfectly 
happy where he was, he must go home for fear of this terrible 
thing happening. It reminded one of the Chinese travelling to 
California with their coffins for the return journey to the Middle 
Kingdom. These things make a man think. 

Three days afterwards, to my great surprise, I was invited by 
the Prince to a great diplomatic dinner at which all the Ambassadors 
and Ministers were present, with certain members of the Govern- 
ment. There were no ladies invited. 

Of course the conversation turned chiefly upon the Danish 
question, which was reaching a very acute stage. When the time 
to leave arrived, Prince Gortchakoff detained Lord Napier with 
the Prussian, Austrian, Swedish and French representatives for a 
private conference. 

I am not a resurrectionist and find little relish in digging among 
the graves of dead questions. The disputes over the Danish 
duchies are long since dead and buried, though the ambitions of 
the men who lit the torch of war still live, and the torch is still 
blazing. Those disputes were the opportunity of one master mind, 
the puzzle of others, and the joy of many dullard diplomatists 
who loved to flounder choking among the shoals and whirlpools 
of a sea of troubles ; at that tin;e, they were the despair of those 
slaves of the pen, of whom I, so long as I was at the Foreign 
Office, was one, whose task it was to cover reams upon reams of 
foolscap with reports of endless conversations with Princekins and 
Ministers at small German courts, retailed by minor diplomatic 
lights with all the ineptitude of pompous verbosity. 

The Governments which really played a part in the wrangles 
were those of France, Russia, Prussia and in a lesser degree Austria, 
which, though very half-hearted, was not for the last time being 
towed by Prussia im schlepptau, as a German publicist put it. She 
was dragged in by the fear of losing in the Diet an influence which 



236 Memories 



had already been seriously undermined, if not exploded, by 
Bismarck. 

The real arbiter in the case was England. Upon the conduct 
of England depended the issues of peace or war. Unfortunately 
her course was being steered by a pilot unskilled, fickle, timid and 
obstinately vain; a man who, as the conduct of the Polish ques- 
tion had shown, undeterred by more than one sordid repulse, was 
full of brag and bluster, till the critical moment should come — 
then collapsing like a soap-bubble. It was their appreciation of 
Lord Russell that made foreign statesmen tremble for the fate 
of Denmark, nor was it long before this want of faith in him was 
fully justified. 

In the case of the Danish duchies question, as in the case of 
the Polish insurrection, in order rightly to understand what was 
taking place at St. Petersburg, it is well to consider for a moment 
what was the condition oi international affairs. We may leave 
to those who are curious in such political puzzles the complicated 
intrigues which now have only an academic or historic interest. 

The question of the incorporation of Schleswig, its unity with 
Holstein, the position of the infinitesimally small Duchy of Lauen- 
burg, the great language dispute and the so-called " wrongs " of 
the Schleswigers and the Holsteiners, together with the claims of 
the Duke of Augustenburg — all these are ghosts long since laid ; 
they were never anything more than pretexts, nor can anything 
else be said of Prussia's plea that her hand was being forced by 
the small German States ; it is enough for the politician of to-day 
to know what was the true objective of the war ; that question 
still lives with us, growing in importance every day. Had the 
duchies lain inland, far away from the coast, the right to their 
possession would never have disturbed Europe. Kiel was the 
Naboth's vineyard — Kiel with the seaboard of the Baltic, and 
the North Sea — Kiel with the possibility of a German military 
and conunercial Navy. That, as we shall see presently, is an in- 
controvertible fact ; we have it out of the mouths of German 
statesmen themselves — out of the mouth of Lord Palmerston. 

The glorious dream of the nationalist party in Prussia was 
a United Fatherland, strong by sea as by land, taking its place 



The Winter of 1863-64 237 

at the council board of Europe as a Power of the first magnitude. 
Until she should have a navy fitted to cope with that 6f any other 
nation, this was a position which Germany could not hope to hold. 
This planet of ours is so built that in many cases the sea deter- 
mines the possession of the land and the power of states. By 
land Prussia was already strong indeed, as she was soon to prove 
in 1866 and 1870. At sea she did not exifet. She had practically 
no seaboard, for what is a seaboard lacking harbours ? So long 
as this want remained there must be many international questions 
in which the voice of Germany would be of no account. Kiel 
would solve the difficulty — it was foredoomed, and indeed the 
project of a new Suez Canal, since realized, was already in the air. 
There is a curious letter of the old Kaiser William when he was 
Prince of Prussia, written to his cousin, Prince Adalbert of Prussia, 
on the i6th of August, 1853 — curious when we compare what 
was with what is : 

" How sorry I was to miss you yesterday in order to 
give you a few pieces of information which Steinacker 
(his aide-de-camp) told me you wished for, and to tell 
you something of the grand naval review. You will have 
heard all details by now. What a pity that you could not 
hit it off ! I cannot tell you how great was my emotion, 
especially when for the first time I passed by our ship, saw our 
battle-flag, our uniform and Pickelhaube {helmet) and heard our 
drums on board a man of war"* (the itahcs are mine), "and 
that too in the middle of an English Fleet ! The visit of 
the Queen on board the Gefion was too friendly and gracious. 
I was delighted with the ships, and found our soldiers making 
a goodly show."* 

The occasion was the great naval review held by Queen Victoria 
on the nth of August, 1853, off Spithead, at which the Prince of 
Prussia was present. The words which I have underlined are 
significant. The sight of a German man-of-war would now hardly 
be a novelty creating so great emotion ! 

♦ " Briefe Kaiser Wilhelm's des Ersten," Insel Verlag, Leipzig, 191 1, 
p. io6. 



238 Memories 



The position of the three Powers, England, France and Russia, 
which might have combined to save Denmark and defeat the 
ambitious efforts of Germany, was pecuUar. Louis Napoleon had 
proposed a congress to consider the affairs of Europe, and having 
been snubbed by Lord Russell, was sulking in his tent. In Russia 
there was certainly no desire for war ; the memory of the Crimea 
was still fresh in men's minds, the Polish business was not yet 
settled, and the country was longing for quiet — according to 
Prince Gortchakoff' s famous mot, " La Russie ne boude pas, elle 
se recueille," but a marriage had recently been arranged between 
the Tsarevitch* and the Princess Dagmar, the second daughter 
of the King of Denmark, so the Court (which at that time was 
still Russia), with Prince Gortchakoff, eager for an English alliance, 
and a great number of ministers and nobles, were strong partisans 
of the Danes ; and the whole chivalry of the country would have 
donned its armour to do battle for the father of their future 
Empress. 

They only waited for England. As to the attitude of England 
there should have been no doubt. The declaration of her states- 
men had been explicit, showing not only their sense of an injustice 
which was to be perpetrated, but beyond that a right knowledge 
of the real objects which Bismarck had at heart. The national 
party in Germany made no secret of them. Two quotations 
taken from Lord Salisbury's article in the Quarterly Review 
of January, 1864, are clear in their testimony. There was a debate 
on the Danish Question in the Prussian Chamber on the ist of 
December, 1864. Herr von Twesten, Chairman of the Committee 
appointed to consider the Augustenburg claims, made the following 
candid remark : 

" The Duchies are for Germany and Prussia a strong bul- 
wark under all circumstances against any attack coming 
from the North. This, as well as their maritime position, 
are advantages which Prussia can never relinquish." 

• The Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovitch, the eldest son of the Tsar. 
He was in wretched health and died in April, 1865, and the Princess became 
betrothed to his next brother, who after his father's murder reigned as 
Alexander the Third. 



The Winter of 1863-64 239 

Dr. Loewe, a conspicuous man in the National Verein, speaks 
with even less affectation of concealment : 

" What interest has Prussia in the maintenance of the 
London Protocol ? (The Treaty of 1852 by which the Powers, 
including Prussia, settled the succession to the Danish throne.) 
Since the time of the Great Elector, Prussian policy has 
always been rightly directed towards gaining the North 
German Peninsula for Germany." 

The North German Peninsula ! Look at the map and then say 
whether any more arrogant pretension was ever brought forward 
in a national Parliament. Lord Salisbury was not the only 
Englishman who knew what were the motives urging on Germany. 
Lord Palmerston, at the end of the session of 1863, spoke plainly 
on the subject. Mr. Seymour Fitzgerald, who had been Conserva- 
tive Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had asked a 
question in the House of Commons as to what was the policy of 
Her Majesty's Government in regard to the Danish Question — Lord 
Palmerston's answer was as follows : 

" There is no use in disguising the fact that what is at the 
bottom of the German design, and the desire of connecting 
Schleswig with Holstein, is the dream of a German fleet and 
the wish to get Kiel as a German seaport. That may be a 
good reason why they should wish it ; but it is no reason 
why they should violate the rights and independence of Den- 
mark for an object which, even if it were accomplished, would 
not realize the expectation of those who aim at it. The hon. 
gentleman asks what is the policy and course of Her Majesty's 
Government with regard to that dispute. 

" As I have already said, we concur entirely with him, and 
I am satisfied, with all reasonable men in Europe, including 
those in France and Russia, in desiring that the independence 
and integrity and the rights of Denmark may be maintained. 
We are convinced, I am convinced at least, that if any violent 
attempt were made to overthrow those rights and interfere 



240 Memories 



with that independence, those who made the attempt would 
find in the result that it would not be Denmark alone with 
which they would have to contend." 

Could language be clearer than this pronouncement urbi et orbi 
of the Prime Minister of England ? But that was not all. Lord 
Russell in despatch after despatch, many of which are quoted 
by Lord Salisbury in his famous article, gave it to be understood 
at Paris, Berlin, Vienna and St. Petersburg that an attack on Den- 
mark would lead to a rupture of relations between England and 
Germany. " Her Majesty could not see with indifference a mili- 
tary occupation of HolsteLn," etc. " Should it appear that Federal 
troops had entered the Duchy on international grounds, Her 
Majesty's Government may be obliged to interfere." 

To Count Bemstorff, the Prussian Ambassador in London, 
Lord Russell said, " that Her Majesty's Government could not 
wonder that the King of Denmark was ready to defend Schleswig 
and to consider its hostile occupation as a fatal blow to the integrity 
of his dominions. But I could not doubt that he would be assisted 
by Powers friendly to Denmark in that defence ... I said that 
since the month of May, Great Britain had warned Austria of 
these dangers, that Russia and Germany had likewise been warned, 
but that the voice of England was unheeded," etc., etc. Acting oh 
instructions from the Foreign Secretary, Lord Napier told Prince 
Gortchakoff that " the pressing necessity for arresting warlike 
preparations, and combining the Powers less directly interested 
in the controversy for a mediation, was proved by the fact that 
an attack upon Schleswig seemed imminent, and that if that 
attempt was made it seemed not improbable that the Germans 
might find themselves confronted by the armed intervention 
of Great Britain." 

It was not " the voice of England " that was unheeded, as Lord 
Russell put it, but his own. He was like Bottom the weaver, 
" Let me play the Uon too ; I will roar that I will do any 
man's heart good to hear me ; I will roar that I will make the Duke 
say, ' Let him roar again, let him roar again.' " Then lest he 
should frighten the Duchess and the ladies — " I will aggravate 



The Winter of 1863-64 241 

my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove ; 
I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale." 

The publication by the French Foreign Office of the report by 
M. Reinack of the Commission charged to inquire into " Les Ori- 
gines Diplomatiques de la Guerre de 1870 " has thrown a flood 
of light upon the negotiations which took place in regard to the 
Danish Question of 1863-4 ; it is not pleasant reading for English- 
men ; a review of the first two volumes of these revelations in 
the Figaro of the 6th of September, 1910, by the Comte 
d'Haussonville shows the position to which England had fallen 
in the Councils of Europe. " L'Angleterre s'agite " (this is, of 
course, the historic present), " mais ce n'est pas un Dieu qui la 
mene. Ce n'est personne. On ne sent point, comme a certains 
moments de son histoire, la main ferme d'un veritable homme 
d'etat : au debut du dix-neuvieme siecle un Pitt ; a la fin un 
Disraeli qui sait ce qu'il se propose et ou il veut conduire son 
pays." 

Nobody was frightened by Lord Russell's roaring, least of all 
Bismarck — he knew how soon the voice would be " aggravated." 
" L'Angleterre ne fera pas la guerre," he said to M. de Talleyrand, 
the French Ambassador at Berlin. Foreign statesmen knew 
that Lord Palmerston was now grown old. He was no longer 
the doughty champion of the Don Pacifico days, when he elec- 
trified the House of Commons and the world with the famous 
Civis Romanus sum speech ; moreover, he was hampered by the 
shufflings of his Foreign Secretary, and in the background was 
the Queen, never a negligible quantity in foreign affairs, whom 
all men knew to be a strong ally of Germany, and who, still ani- 
mated by the spirit of the dead Prince Consort, naturally felt with 
Germany. Read what the Prince Consort wrote to the King of 
Prussia on the 12th March, 1861 : " My hope, hke that of most 
German patriots, rests upon Prussia, rests upon you " (" Life of 
the Prince Consort," Vol. V., p. 314). Those words in the mouth 
of the Prince were intelligible enough, but why should Lord Russell 
be a German patriot ? 

And so we drifted, whither we knew not, though others did. 
M. de Massignac, a clever diplomatist, a man whom I knew well, 
VOL. I i6 



242 Memories 



who was French • Chargd d' Affaires at St. Petersburg, on the 9th 
of February, 1864, sent a despatch to M. Drouyn de Lhuys in which 
he recorded certain confidential talks which he had had with some 
of his German colleagues upon the situation. He urged that if 
the Duchies were to unite themselves with Prussia, it would be 
unwise for France to interfere, because such a territorial exten- 
sion would enable Germany to create a navy, which in given cir- 
cumstances might unite with the fleets of the other Continental 
Powers to destroy England's preponderant power at sea ! (" Origines 
Diplomatiques," etc.). 

Meanwhile, England and Prussia were both courting Louis 
NapoMon. Palmerston expressed to the Prince de la Tour 
d'Auvergne, the French Ambassador in London, his regret that 
Great Britain and France could not come to a complete under- 
standing, but Lord Russell kept the same Ambassador in a state 
of mystification. Bismarck, on the other hand, was maintaining 
such intimate relations with M. de Tallej^rand as to draw from 
Drouyn de Lhuys the warmest congratulations. The Emperor 
stroked his barbiche and held the balance. Poor Emperor ! It 
was for him that the witches' cauldron was bubbling. 

And Denmark ? In the Spring of 1863, King Frederic 
the Seventh had died, and King Christian, the father of our Queen 
Alexandra, ruled in his stead. Seldom has a monarch been called 
to the throne in more untoward circumstances. Only eleven 
years had passed since all the great Powers — Prussia and Austria, 
of course, included — gatheired together iii conclave in London, had 
solemnly bound themselves to guarantee the integrity of his 
dominions. 

Such engagements we are now told by the German Chancellor 
are " scraps of paper ! " Only eleven years ! It was no archaic 
instrument which the decay of many decades had rendered obsolete. 
What had occurred in the meantime to make it invalid ? Nothing, 
absolutely nothing ! Yet in spite of the most sacred obligations 
of the Powers which had pledged themselves to maintain his suc- 
cession and the rights of his kingdom, two of those very Powers 
were invading his country to despoil him of his territory, and 
the rest treacherously and cowardly deserted him. It was a cruel 



The Winter of 1863-64 H3 



betrayal, and as if to accentuate it by a stroke of bitter irony, 
France sent General Fleury, the Emperor's confidential friend, 
England Lord Wodehouse, on special missions to congratulate the 
new King on his accession. Fleury, the dandy courtier, passing 
through Berlin, was handsomely flattered and fooled by Bis- 
marck ; Lord Wodehouse carried pouches full of excellent advice 
from Lord Russell— advice the neglect of which King Christian 
was assured might lead to dire consequences. The King acted 
according to Lord Russell's advice, but none the less, when the 
great catastrophe came, he was left to his fate. 

Such, briefly sketched, was the position of the Danish negotia- 
tions at the end of 1863 and the beginning of 1864. The details 
can easily be filled in from our own Blue Books, from Lord Salis- 
bury's masterly essays, and from the " Origines Diplomatiques 
de la Guerre de 1870." I have only tried to say so much as should 
serve to make intelligible what follows. 

It must have been about the 9th or loth of February : I did 
not note the exact date in my papers : a cruel blizzard, cruel even 
for St. Petersburg, lasting many hours, had swept the streets clear 
of all passenger traffic. Only the direst necessity would goad 
men to face it. As good luck wotild have it, there was for a wonder 
no function or entertainment that night, so I hugged my comfort 
in my rooms and went to bed early, thinking with a sense of superi- 
ority tempered by pity of the poor wretches who must be outside 
wrestling with the bitterness of the weather. Hardly had I laid 
myself down when there came a violent knocking at my outer 
door. My servant had long since gone home, so there was nothing 
for it but to get up and see what was the matter. It was the 
Chancery messenger, shivering and smothered from head to foot 
with snow, bringing me a note from my chief. Lord Napier : 
^' Please come at once." 

I went back into my bedroom and dressed again, looking regret- 
fully at my warm bed, in which only a few minutes earlier I had 
been pitying the victims of whom now I was to be one. When I 
got outside I was almost blinded by the snow, driven by a wind 
which it was hard to stand against. It seemed more than doubtful 
whether I should be able to reach the Embassy, which was about 
VOL. I 16* 



244 Memories 



half a mile off. All at once, out of the unwholesome, yellow, almost 
lurid darkness my good angel sent a belated Isvoshtchik crawling 
along, visible only a few yards off. I hailed him, hardly hoping that 
he would come to my call ; however, the promise of a good pour- 
hoire tempted him, and we crept misefably through the storm to 
the Embassy. I never was out in so weird a night. As I left the 
little sleigh I shook off many pounds' weight of snow from fur cap 
and coat. 

I found Lord Napier walking about his room in his dressing- 
gown, evidently rather uneasy ; he seemed to have a sort of fore- 
warning of something out of the common and disagreeable. A 
telegraphic despatch in cypher had come in, and he wished to have 
it deciphered immediately. It was truly a momentous document 
— nothing less than an instruction to call upon Prince Gortchakoff 
at once and to let him know that England would not interfere on 
behalf of Denmark. Lord Napier was eagerly watching over my 
shoulder as one by one the fateful words revealed themselves, and 
when the telegram was fully before us we looked at one another in 
dismay. 

" But," said my chief, " only yesterday when I saw the Prince 
I told him that I believed that there was no change in the policy 
of Her Majesty's Government, and now I have to give him this 
message. It is very embarrassing ! Where is the Prince ? Do 
you know ? " 

" He is at Tsarskoe Selo," I answered. 

" Well, I shall have to go out by the first train to-morrow 
morning." 

It was a very awkward moment for Lord Napier and he felt the 
falseness of the position acutely, but he was so truly attached to 
Lord Russell personally that he never would say a word against 
him. 

The next day I was in the Chancery when Lord Napier came back 
from Tsarskoe Selo. He beckoned me into his private room. 

" Well," I asked, " what did the Prince say ? " 

" It was not a pleasant interview," answered my chief. " When 
tne Prince had read the telegram he folded it up and handed it back 
to me saying, ' Alors, milord, je mets de cot^ la supposition que 



The Winter of 1863-64 245 

TAngleterre fasse jamais la guerre pour une question d'honneur.' 
Pretty words for an English Ambassador to listen to ! " 

Lord Napier was deeply moved, as well he might be. They were 
indeed " pretty words," and in them, I think, we may see what 
lay at the bottom of Prince Gortchakoff 's subsequent foreign policy — 
especially in Central Asia — until he was finally checkmated by Lord 
Beaconsfield, at the Berlin Congress in 1878. On that morning of 
February, 1864, the Prince's well-known keenness for an alliance 
with England died the death ; in his estimation England need no 
longer be taken into account. 

Bismarck had now a free hand. His carefully laid schemes, 
of which the war in the Duchies was only an instalment, were all 
to bear their fruit. Austria was to be crippled, France to be humbled 
and dismembered, Germany to be a naval Power of the first 
magnitude. Arid England ? 

That is how the keel of the first Dreadnought was laid at 
St. Petersburg in the month of February, 1864. The Baltic and the 
North Sea are united as Siamese twins. Germany, possessed of 
ports and a huge navy, is straining every nerve to wrest the trident 
from the hands of Great Britain, and the tragedy of 1914, which 
sooner or later was bound to come, is even now upon us. Black is 
the ingratitude of mankind ! There is no statue of Lord Russell, 
the great benefactor, the true founder of the German navy, standing 
unter den Linden in Beriin. 



CHAPTER XII 

THROUGH THE WINTER 

HAPPILY our life at the Embassy was not all made up of 
political miscarriages and diplomatic rebuffs. On the 6th 
(iSth) of January we all received a summons to attend the 
ceremony of the blessing of the waters. 

For some days past a little shrine of green wood had been in process 
of construction on the side of the Neva opposite the Winter Palace ; 
a picture of a saint surmounted it on each side, the place of honour 
being cissigned to the image of St. John the Baptist. As soon as 
daylight broke on the 6th vast crowds of people of both sexes, soldiers 
in many uniforms, and, of course, as at all public ceremonies, dogs, 
were flocking to catch as near a sight as possible of the shrine. 

We, the Corps Diplomatique, were bidden to the Winter Palace 
at noon. The drive through the streets was fascinating. The 
weather was glorious and the glistening city was at its brightest, the 
soldiers in all their bravery giving a kaleidoscopic glamour to the 
surging mob, mostly clad in sad-coloured sheepskins with the wool 
inside. The wild-looking Georgians in their native dress, Cossacks 
of the Don, fierce, swarthy horsemen from the Caucasus in their 
shirts of mail and shining armour, striking a medieval note in the 
concert of men. The Kurnos regiment of the Emperor Paul, every 
man with a snub nose, and wearing the old peaked brazen shako of 
our Guards in Queen Anne's reign, each shako showing a bullet hole 
in it, a memorial of a bullet which, aimed at the Tsar, found its billet 
in the tall cap of one of his faithful, snub-nosed guardsmen, who 
dashed forward just in time to save the Tsar's life at the expense of 
his own ; in contrast to these were the grenadiers, with heavy 

246 



Through the Winter 247 



bearskin caps and plumes. The chevalier-gardes in white tunics, 
their helmets and cuirasses dazzling in the winter sun — all the 
panoply of war set in the flaming glory of ecclesiastical and imperial 
splendour. Could this be Europe in the nineteenth century ? 

From the room in the Palace in which we had assembled we were 
ushered off to a side entrance to see the priestly procession form to 
meet the Tsar. It was an imposing ceremony. The air was heavy 
with the penetrating fumes of incense, and in the distance we could 
hear the mysterious effect of the deep bass voices of the priests and 
deacons — those wonderful bass voices for which they are chosen — 
chanting the impressive litanies of the Greek Church. Nearer and 
nearer they came, the music becoming clearer and more distinct, 
but intensely reverential, until at last the great procession of Church 
dignitaries passed before us ; it was stirringly solemn. 

Priests in red, priests in purple, priests in white, and priests m 
violet, all as resplendent as a profusion of gold embroidery and 
jewels could make them — very imposing with their long white 
beards and hair. One deacon, a giant in stature, with hair and 
beard reaching half-way down to his waist, had a deep voice which, 
pealing through the corridors like the rolling* notes of a bass 
trombone, made the windows rattle again. Last of all came the 
Bishops and the Metropolitan, like the King's daughter " all glorious 
within," clad in raiment that made them seem like a vision out of 
the Apocalypse. Altogether a sight not to be forgotten. 

We followed the procession through the great State apartments 
of the Palace, each room with a guard of honour from a different 
regiment, until the priests and bishops branched off to one of the 
principal staircases to go round the Palace ; and when next we saw 
them they were accompanied by the Tsar, looking magnificent on a 
grey charger, followed by his brothers and sons, and a brilliantly 
mounted staff of the chief officials. Of the ceremony itself we could 
ee nothing. It consists in the dipping of a cross by the Tsar into 
the water, through a hole made in the ice, and during the liturgy 
which follows, and lasts for a quarter of an hour, all the people, 
including the soldiers, remain uncovered. Even the Tsar must bare 

* Winterbottom, the great trombone player, once said to me, " The notes 
of a G trombone ought, to go rolling through Exeter Hall like footballs." 



24S Memories 



his head, so the late Emperor, who was bald, used to wear a wig for 
the occasion. It was luckily not very cold, but there was a keen 
wind blowing, and I am bound to say that the thermometer is a bad 
judge of temperature at St. Petersburg, for the wind is man's worst 
enemy, and the days when the mercury is at its lowest are far more 
tolerable than those on which there are a few degrees of frost and 
bit ng blasts that race down the river. Happily we diplomatists 
had two stout glass windows between us and the weather, so we had 
no cause to complain. 

As soon as the waters had been duly blessed, and the service was 
over, out burst a cannonade from the fortress and from guns placed 
at regular intervals on the opposite bank of the Neva ; then the 
Emperor and his staff mounted their horses and wended their way 
back, the priests carrying the blessed water and sprinkling the 
troops with it as they passed in front of them. The Empress being 
ill and unable to attend the ceremony, a golden goblet was filled with 
the water and carried to her for her use. 

We were all invited to luncheon, and after that there was a review 
of the Imperial Guards, thirty-four thousand men and eighty- "our 
pieces of cannon ; a quite magnificent display. 

As soon as the blessing of the waters and the review were finished, 
the mujiks were all allowed access to the consecrated hole in the ice. 
Into this they dipped themselves, fully clothed, to the end that they 
might purify themselves from the excesses of their holidays — more 
particularly from the sin of wearing masks, which, being forbidden 
by their religion, is one in which the orthodox take a special delight. 
Dripping icicles, but pure, and of a contented conscience, the mujik 
rushes from his freezing bath to his poor home, there to work, and, 
as soon as Lent comes, starve, till Easter shall set him free once 
more. 

If all that one hears be true, the Russia of to-day is very different 
from what it was at the time of which I am writing. The great 
hospitable houses are, so I am told, many of them shut up. The 
Winter Palace itself is no longer the setting of pageants and festi- 
vities of which the slaves of the ring and the lamp might have been 
the stage-managers and chamberlains. Misfortune, sorrow and 
cruel anxieties have racked the Imperial Family, and the gaiety of a 



Through the Winter 249 



nat on has been cl psed. One can but hope that it may be only a 
passing eclipse, only a temporary cloud, through which in years to 
come the sun may sh ne more brightly than before.* It was 
radiant in my day. 

It would be difficult to imagine anything more sumptuous than a 
great Court ball. There were one thousand eight hundred guests, 
themselves all as brilliant as the glory of diamonds and rubies and 
pearls and the most magnificent uniforms could make them. The 
great white and gold ball-room, with an orchestra at each end, 
flanked by arches leading into a winter garden rich in palms and 
tree-ferns and flowers and all the wonders of tropical regetation, 
was lighted by twenty-seven thousand candles arranged spirally 
round the pillars and in crystal chandeliers. 

The Corps Diplomatique were ushered into the adjoining drawing- 
rooms, where they were received by old Count Ribeaupierre, the 
grand maitre de la Cour, himself a notable link with the past, for 
he had been page of honour to the Empress Catherine. Presently 
the doors were thrown open and the Imperial family trooped in ; 
the Emperor as usual very regal, half a head taller than any man 
in the room, wearing a white hussar uniform trimmed with gold and 
black sables ; the Empress covered with the spoils of Ophir and 
Golconda. They went round our circle, stopping to speak to the 
chiefs of missions and their wives. It was a lesson to watch that 
gracious Lady and the winning way in which she made her guests 
welcome with a charm that could only come from the sweetest 
nature. When the little reception was over we followed Their 
Majesties into the ball-room. It really was a dazzling sight. At 
a given moment all the one thousand eight hundred guests sat 
down to supper at the same time ; only the Emperor remained 
standing, himself looking after the comfort of his guests. 

An entertainment even more wonderful, on account of its exquisite 
daintiness, was a smaller ball of only about three hundred and fifty 
guests ; it led, moreover, to some amusing incidents. The order 
from the Court was that civilians were not to wear uniform, so with 
two brilliant exceptions, the diplomatic body arrived as black as 
rooks. The brilliant two were General Cassius Clay and the Due 
* Written some years ago (1915). 



250 Memories 



d'Osuna, the Spanish Ambassador, who, conceiving themselves to 
be soldiers, took it for granted that the order did not apply to them ; 
the General especially was full of military ardour as regarded his 
clothes, so he came in a nondescript blue coat, a yellow nankeen 
waistcoat, white trousers and something in his hand which he said 
was a forage-cap. The Due d'Osuna, on the other hand, appeared 
in a gorgeous uniform, his breast plastered all over iwith stars and 
decorations (the only wonder being that he did not wear some on 
his back as well) , his little legs incased in white leather breeches and 
jack-boots. He was a great character and really a very charming 
personality ; fabulously rich, an ambassador without pay, he 
hospitably kept open house for his staff, even when he was on leave. 
His many chateaux were maintained in the same sumptuous way, 
whether he were in Spain or abroad, ready to receive him at any 
moment, and so, while his agents accumulated good fortunes, when 
his death came he was reputed to have well-nigh run through every- 
thing. The ship had too many leaks. He was several times over 
grandee of Spain, and so had the right to wear any number of hats 
in the presence of his sovereign. He is alluded to in Lord Beacons- 
field's letter to his sister, giving an account of Queen Victoria's 
coronation. "He is a great dandy, and looks Jike Philip the 
Second, but though the only living descendant of the Borgias, he 
has the reputation of being very amiable. AVhen he was last at 
Paris he attended a representation of Victor Hugo's Lucrezia Borgia. 
She says in one of the scenes : ' Great crimes are in our blood.' All 
his friends looked at him with an expression of fear. ' Btit the 
blood has degenerated,' he said, ' for I have committed only 
weaknesses.' " 

The dear little man's great foible was vanity, concentrated in 
the admiration of his own tiny Spanish feet. " Oh ! moi," said 
a little French actress one evening. " Quand j'ai besoin de deux ou 
trois cents roubles, je m'en vais trouver le Due d'Osuna ; je lui 
fais un doigt de cour et je lui dis, en regardant ses pieds : 'Ah 1 
comme ils sont jolis ! II n'y a que Monsieur le Due d'Osuna pour 
avoir ces pieds-la — sont-ils assez mignons ! ' Cda ne rate jamais. " 

Another order that evening was, that there was to be no cere- 
mony as to going in to supper. We were to go as we pleased and 



Through the Winter 251 



with whom we pleased. Precedence was abolished for the night. 
We danced in the white drawing-room ; towards midnight the 
heavy folding doors were thrown open, and in what had been the 
great ball-room of a few nights before was laid out quite the most 
artistically perfect banquet that could be imagined — once more 
the Jins of the " Arabian Nights " had been at work. In the great 
hall and the jardin d'hiver were thirty-five supper-tables, each to 
hold ten guests, each dressed round an orange tree in full fruit. 
The illumination, with the usual fabulous number of candles, was 
resplendent. It was an entrancing sight. As we went in every- 
body uttered a little exclamation of surprise ! " Mon Dieu ! que 
c'est joli ! " " Mais c'est ravissant ! " " Oui," said Georges Du 
Luart, " c'est positivement f^erique ! " " Ah ! " said the Due 
d'Osuna, in his Spanish French, " n'est-ce pas que c'est zoli ! C'est 
I'uniforme du reziment que ze commande." The good Duke, who 
was rather deaf, had taken all the enthusiasm as a well-merited 
tribute to his own personal appearance. 

Du Luart, now {1915) the Marquis du Luart, one of the greatest 
authorities in France on sport and venerie, and I had arranged 
to sit together ; but somehow we got separated and had to take 
our chance of places. After wandering about I found myself at a 
table where I knew no one, but as usual, the other guests were 
most kind and amiable in their welcome to the stranger. 

The gentleman next me began asking me all manner of questions 
about England and English people ; it turned out that he had 
known my father, Charles Greville (of the memoirs), and his brother 
Henry, Lord GranvDle, and many other people whom I knew weU. 
He was Monsieur Jean Tolstoy, Postmaster-General, a member 
of the Cabinet, and a personal friend of the Emperor. Our ac- 
quaintance did not end there ; for he took many opportunities 
of showing me civilities during the remainder of my stay in Russia. 
It was a curious accident, for I do not suppose that there was 
another Russian in the crowd who knew my father. 

During the whole time that the supper lasted the Emperor 
kept walking round the different tables, with a kindly word of 
welcome for many of his guests, and anxious to see that all were 
well served There was not a speck of condescension about him 



252 Memories 



just the anxiety and care of a most courteous host. The Emperor 
Alexander was certainly one of the greatest gentlemen that I ever 
saw in any rank of life. 

A figure of mark at these Court functions was the Prussian 
Ambassador, Count Redern, who, with the help of his Countess 
and a very charming daughter, himself kept one of the pleasantest 
and best mounted houses in the town. His appointment to 
St. Petersburg was said to have been made for a unique reason. 
He had been named to one of the smallest European Courts. Now 
he possessed a service of silver plate of which he was passing proud, 
and it seemed to him to be utterly incongruous that its glory should 
be thrown away upon a very tiny Scandinavian capital. " Ich ! 
Mit meiner Vaisselle ! " he is said to have exclaimed with indigna- 
tion when the appointment was notified to him. The objection 
was held to be unanswerable, so he and his service of plate were 
sent to cast lustre upon the capital of the Tsar. If, following upon 
Bismarck, he did not seem to be diplomatically an eagle, he was, 
at any rate, a great social success, and everybody liked him. 

It seems as if I had no story to write but what relates to feasts 
and splendour and the glory of the Emperor. I may have been 
monotonous. But all this magnificence cannot forbid the door 
to sorrow. Even yet my readers are like the Queen of Sheba, 
" the half was not told them." But in this great stately home 
of the Tsars there is a chamber of grief, a comer which no man 
can penetrate without emotion ; it is the reverse of a brilliant 
medal. 

One day I was taken by one of my friends about the Court to 
see the apartment which was occupied by the Emperor Nicholas. 
It was the eve of the aimiversary of his death, just nine years ago. 
There was no magnificence, no luxury here ; nothing but Spartan 
simplicity — the heroic simplicity of the man whom he took as his 
ideal, the Duke of Wellington — just two shabby little rooms on 
the groimd floor of the Winter Palace, which elsewhere glittered 
with all the treasures of fairyland ; the outer room was furnished 
with a wardrobe and decorated with a few drawings of fortifica- 
tions. Here the mightiest ministers and generals waited for their 
audiences, which were granted in the Emperor's sanctum — a 




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Through the Winter 253 



room no bigger than the quarters of a subaJtem in Chatham Barracks, 
which served as bedroom, dressing-room and study all in one. 
The furniture was to match ; on the walls hung a few French prints, 
a portrait or two, and some bad sketches of reviews and sham 
fights ; at the head of his bed the likeness of his beautiful and 
favourite daughter Olga, in the uniform of the regiment which he 
gave her. Books were represented by a collection of caricatures ; 
a narrow camp bedstead, the mattress as hard as stone ; spread 
upon the bed the military cloak which had served him — so it was 
said — for fifty years, a simple grey cloak with a red collar, no 
better than that of a common soldier ; his tunic was out ready to 
put on, his casque and sword handy. His solitary brush and 
comb, his toothbrush and shaving tackle, were ready for use— it 
was as if the man who had died nine years ago had only left that 
morning and was expected back in the evening. At one side of 
the room stood the writing-table, with drawers on each side. Here 
he used to sit with his ministers facing him, and I fancy that some 
of our acquaintances could tell of awkward moments passed at 
that table. On it lay his notepaper, inkstand, pens, and the 
almanack for 1855 ! 

Everything just as he left it — every single thing save one only 
— a small and beautiful pencil drawing of his head as it lay in 
death upon the pillow. Altogether a pathetic sight ! and it all 
seemed so intimate, as if the handsome, dead giant might at any 
moment come stalking into the room, and resent the intrusion. 

It was the fashion among Russians in 1864 to talk of Nicholas 
as a tyrant before whom in his lifetime they crouched in terror, 
and of Alexander's accession to power as a release from bondage. 
No doubt in a measure that was true. At the same time it is no 
less true that those who knew him best loved him dearly. The 
fierceness of his will, no less than his personal beauty and his charm, 
appealed. Where he chose he was irresistible. He was one of 
those magnetic men whose power over the hearts and affections 
of others is almost superhuman — there are men, one or two in a 
century, who walk upon the earth as Gods to be worshipped. 

One night there was a small dinner at Lord Napier's, just the 
members of the Embassy and one Russian guest, Admiral Greig, 



254 Memories 



the descendant of one of the many Scots who came over to Russia 
and took service there in the eighteenth century. His old Scottish 
connection put him on terms of very friendly intercourse with Lord 
Napier. That evening he told us the story of how he had carried 
the news of the battle of the Alma to the Emperor Nicholas. 

Being soldier as well as sailor, General as weU as Admiral, he 
had been aide-de-camp to Prince Gortchakoff (the brother of the 
Vice-Chancellor), who was commander-in-chief of the army in 
the Crimea. At the end of the day of the 20th of September, after 
the battle of the Alma, the Prince sent him to convey the intelligence 
of the disaster to the Tsar, with orders to tell no one what had 
happened till his Majesty should have received him. It was not a 
pleasant mission. He posted night and day till he reached the 
railroad, and at every halt for change of horses the people crowded 
round him, eager for news from the front ; but he uttered not a 
word. At last, after a long, weary journey he reached the Palace, 
and was ushered into the Tsar's presence. The Tsar, anticipating 
glorious news from the war, sprang forward smiling to embrace 
him. The Admiral started aside and put out both hands with the 
palms outward as though to push back the Emperor, saying : 
" No, your Majesty ! no ! I bring bad news." The Emperor's 
whole face changed. Nicholas gave him one of those steady looks 
with which he knew how to petrify the man who displeased him ; 
deeply angered, he demanded to know the worst. 

At this moment the Empress came in. That the heights of the 
Alma should have been stormed in the face of the Russian army 
was something that the Tsar would not, could not, believe. He 
strode about the room, furious ; but the Empress pacified him 
and gave him comfort. At last, when he had collected himself, 
he dismissed the Admiral, telling him to keep strict silence, and 
to tell no human being what had happened. Admiral Greig very 
humbly pointed out that the aide-de-camp in waiting and other 
gentlemen were outside the door and would at once ply him with 
questions. " Tell them nothing," said the EJnpeifor. Here the 
Empress very quietly interposed : "On the contrary, tell them 
everything. There is no use in concealing the truth. I will be 
responsible." 



Through the Winter 255 



It was an evil moment for a soldier. He was sent back post- 
haste to the Crimea in disgrace ; but when he was badly wounded 
afterwards, the Tsar was appeased and sent him a message to say 
that he " kissed his wound." He was forgiven. 

The reign of the Emperor Nicholas had not been a happy one. 
Indeed, during all his life he had been brought face to face with 
the dangers and troubles by which the kingly office is surrounded. 
He was but five years old when his father, the Emperor Paul, was 
murdered ; on the rather mysterious death at Taganrog of his 
brother, Alexander the First — who had been ailing and had gone 
to the Crimea for a rest, but whose condition had not given rise to 
alarm — his next brother, Constantine, having previously renounced 
his claims, he was called to the throne in the last month of 1825. 

As his very first act he was forced to put down the revolution 
of the Dekabrists, the Men of December, officers of the guards 
regiments and others, the chief of whom was one Pestel, who, 
under the pretence of putting Constantine on the throne, were 
plotting for the annihilation of the Imperial autocracy and the 
granting of a constitution — perhaps they had even wider views. 
The rising was quelled after feeding the gallows and Siberia. The 
moment was critical, and Nicholas was not the man to treat rebellion 
with rose-water. The reign ended, as it began, with a tragedy. 
Men said that the Emperor died of a broken heart ; when the 
army which he loved was beaten, the ambition of a lifetime faded 
into thin air, and the proud spirit was humbled in despair. 

In the country where no historian was at that time allowed to 
write that the Emperor Paul was murdered, but only that he died 
suddenly, it was obvious that the death of Nicholas could not 
openly be discussed. But there were whispers. It was said in 
secret by many men that the Emperor did not die a natural death. 
There was a story of a certain German physician who was ordered 
by the Tsar to give him a sure and painless poison. The physician 
of course refused and left St. Petersburg. On the following day 
it was given out that his Majesty was ailing ; he had contracted a 
chill. Worse biilletins followed. After a few days, it was an- 
nounced that he was dangerously ill ; in a few more days that the 
end had come. Heart failure. The last ukase had been issued. 



256 Memories 



A Russian gentleman whom I knew well told me that as a 
yoimgster he was one of the pages of honour in waiting on the 
day when the death of the Emperor was made known to the public. 
It was his duty that night to watch with others over the dead 
Tsar. " Figurez-vous," he said, " que quoique nous fussions en 
Fevrier* le corps sentait d6ja mauvais." Taken in connection 
with the whisper to which I have alluded, this seemed to me not 
without significance. The mystery will in all probability never 
be cleared up; but at this distance of time there can be no in- 
discretion in alluding to a story which was widely believed, though 
it was only uttered in hushed tones and with bated breath. 

In any case, for the death of the great Tsar England was largely 
responsible. When he paid his famous visit to Queen Victoria 
in the year 1844 — a visit still commemorated at Newmarket 
by the Cesarewitch handicap^English statesmen were made 
thoroughly aware of what was his policy in the Eastern Question. 
He made no secret of it. His ambition was to drive the Turk, 
the " Sick Man " of Sir Hamilton Seymour's despatches, out of 
Europe and to occupy Constantinople, not, as he asserted, to take 
it. In that, no doubt, he was speaking honestly as regarded his 
intentions at that time, for he was essentially a truthful man and, 
as he liked to say, using the English word which he loved, " a 
gentleman." 

He had another and, to him, a still Ingher and more cherished 
object — the freeing of the sacred places of Palestine from the hated 
presence of the Mosteifi. That, with him, was the pious dream of 
a devotee who carried religion almost to fanaticism. No Crusader 
was ever fired by a holier ardour. That shrines of such awe-in- 
spiring sanctity as the Holy Sepulchre and Bethlehem should be 
under the domination of Islam ; that disputes among the priests 
of the Christian creeds in the Holy Land should be subjected to 
the arbitration of some petty Turkish official, were to this 
chivalrous son of his Church — to this Christian gentleman — ^horrors 
too hideous for contemplation. To Lord Aberdeen, in these matters, 
he fully opened his heart, and though Lord Aberdeen was careful 
to avoid definitely committing himself to any " hypothetical en- 
* 1 8th February, old style ; 2nd March, new style. 



Through the Winter 257 



gagement," the Tsar believed firmly that he was receiving nothing 
but encouragement. So convinced was he on the subject that 
when Lord Aberdeen became Prime Minister he thought in his 
happiness that the tocsin of the Turk had sounded. But when 
the crucial time came, England failed him, and cast in her lot with 
Louis Napoleon, to whom an alliance with Great Britain gave a 
much-needed addition of prestige. 

The " Sick Man " was once more bolstered up, and Nicholas, 
deceived as he believed himself to be — at any rate foiled in his 
hopes and crushed in his darling ambition — prostrated by the 
failure of the army whose invincibility was with him a creed, saw 
nothing in front of him but what, to his proud heart, seemed ruin 
and despair. Broken in spirit, the great Tsar laid himself down to 
die. That was the tragedy of the little camp bed. 



Here is a wrinkle for the Criminal Investigation Department. 
Towards the end of December, 1863 (Old Style) St. Petersburg was 
stirred by a crime which touched all Russians to the quick. 
Murder and sacrilege. On the opposite bank of the Neva stands 
the little wooden house of Peter the Great, together with a boat 
built by his hands. To this is attached a small church of great 
sanctity ; indeed, even to me, a stranger belonging to another 
school of faith, this humble shrine, for some mysterious reason 
felt but not explained, even to myself, seemed more an object of 
reverence than many a gorgeous place of worship decked out in 
all the lavish trappings furnished by the orthodox, who never 
grudge the spending of their treasure for the adornment of their 
temples. To this sacred place the pious have been in the habit 
of bringing votive offerings, reliquaries and jewels of great price. 

When on the twenty-first of the month (Old Style) the church 
was broken into and robbed, and the two guardians murdered, 
their skulls being battered in, as it was thought, with iron or leaden 
weights, great indeed was the consternation amongst the faithful 
from the highest to the lowest. The Tsar himself went to visit 
the scene of the tragedy. To the mujik, intensely religious, not to 
say superstitious, the effect was stupefying. An ordinary murder 
VOL. I 17 



258 Memories 



leaves him calm and cold, and the death of the watchers was an 
affair of small accoimt. What mattered a mujih or two more or 
less ? The violation of the holy shrine was quite another matter. 

After long and painstaking inquiries, circumstantial evidence 
showed that one Gudzevitch, a soldier, was the murderer. As to 
that there could be no doubt. But the man's confession was 
necessary, and this could not be obtained. Not all the cunning 
of judge and lawyers, not all the pious exhortations of the arch- 
priest, Polissador, of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, who 
visited him several times a day, were able to extract a word from 
him. He remained as hard as a flint, stiffly protesting his inno- 
cence in the face of every proof. Of repentance not a hint. As 
the Journal de St. Petersbourg put it, " There was nothing for it 
but to proceed to extreme measures." There was at that time 
in prison another soldier named Baouschkin, belonging to the 
Kharkov regiment. It was determined to shut this man up in the 
same cell with Gudzevitch in the hope that he might' be able to 
worm something out of him. 

On the seventh (nineteenth) of January, Baouschkin made his 
report. He declared that Gudzevitch asked him for what crime he 
was in prison, and that, on hearing that it was for murder, theft 
and arson Gudzevitch tried to induce him to confess that he was 
the murderer of the two watchmen at Peter the Great's house ; 
he argued that, as he must suffer, it would put him in no worse 
position, and what a kindness he would be doing ! 

By degrees, playing upon the wretched man's hopes and fears) 
Baouschkin obtained all the detaUs — the instrument with which 
the murder was committed (an axe, with the hammer end of which 
the men had been brained, and not a heavy weight, as had been 
supposed) was found, together with a box in which the stolen 
offertory had been contained, and the prisoner was condemned to 
death. Penitent he was at the last, moved thereto by the con- 
templation of the photograph of one of the murdered men which 
h^ been placed in his cell, that the sight might haimt him into 
confession and repentance. For civilians the death penalty was 
abolished, except for high treason ; for them flogging with rods 
and Siberia were the punishment ; but Gudzevitch, being a soldier, 



Through the Winter ^59 



must die. The night of his execution I met the officer who 
commanded the parade. He was shot, twelve conical bullets 
riddling his body, and even so he was not dead ; it was a gruesome 
sight when the poor wretch fell and lifted himself slowly up — six 
more bullets and he was dead. 

The criminal procedure, if successful, struck me as peculiar. 
It had something of the flavour of the Herodotean stories of the 
methods of ancient kings. 

I do not believe that there was more crime in St. Petersburg 
fifty years ago than in any other city. The mujik is good-natured, 
easy-going, rather dull and childish, and his tastes are distinctly 
bacchanaUan. But one could not fancy so simple a creature 
vicious or criminal. In old days there were frequently, if reports 
be true, murders of a peculiarly ugly kind. In the dark winter 
nights robbers used to infest the frozen river, waylaying the unwary 
footpad who ventured across alone. A stunning blow on the head 
was quickly given, and a hole in the ice was ready to receive a 
victim, stripped of his clothes and valuables ; the body would 
be carried down the river under the ice, past Kronstadt, into the 
Baltic, and all trace of the crime would be lost for ever. 

In my time the river was well policed, and the brilliant lighting 
not only shed over the city the joy of beauty, but gave safety in 
place of danger. But stories used still to be told of a certain wicked 
old watchman {Budotchnik) who, posted near the Blue Bridge, was 
supposed to have sent out to sea in this way upwards of thirty of 
the very people over whose lives and property it was his duty to 
keep guard. Quis custodiet custodes I 

Since man has fallen, wickedness there must be in all nations. 
Satan is ubiquitous. But in Russia the doctrines of the Faith 
are so infused into the blood of the people that even the criminals 
are religious — at any rate so far as the outer observances are 
concerned. It is said that a Russian thief will cross himself with 
one hand while he picks your pocket with the other, and I have 
no doubt that even that murderous old Budotchnik would have 
sacrificed his own life rather than take down the ikon, the sacred 
image of his patron saint, from its place of honour in the comer 
of his room. 

VOL. I 17* 



26c Memories 



The piety of the people is very real, very sincere. Of that there 
can be no doubt ; the greatest proof lies in the spirit of self-sacrifice 
and in the submission to privations which are serious and often 
injurious to health. Take the great festivals of their Church. 
Christmas Day, Easter and the feast of the Trinity are observed 
in all Christian lands, but the fourth holy day, the day of the 
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, is, so far as I know, mostly 
passed over with inattention. Here it is different. So sacred is 
the occasion that no man who can possibly help it wili do a turn 
of work, indeed, there is a popular sa57ing that " even the birds 
rest from building their nests on that day." The very isvosichik 
(cabman) deserts the streets, imless it be for bread's sake — the 
children must be fed, coin is scarce and food dear. 

Lent, above all, is a sore trial to these poor people, but they 
bear it cheerfully. During those six cruel weeks they taste nothing 
but the poor and sordid food which is all that the Church allows 
them — an ugly soup made up of dried toad-stools, collected in 
summer and sold by the string, onions, pickled cucumbers, coarse 
cabbage, dry radishes, horse-radish and black bread ; these in- 
gredients are mixed up with an evil-smelling black oil made from 
hemp. The tmtempting mess of pottage is washed down by 
draughts of cheap hvass, a poor sort of beer brewed of rye and a 
little malt — a drink scarcely less nasty then the food. Upon this 
scanty diet the mujib grows thin, but he tightens his belt and 
goes about his work, kept in heart by visions of drunken happiness 
as soon as the last stroke of twelve on Easter Eve shall have rung 
the knell of his misery. 

During one whole week of Lent every man gives himself up 
entirely to his devotions. At four in the morning he goes fasting 
to his church. There he stays without bite or sup until noon, when 
he leaves, and breaks his long fast with a dish of the revolting food 
which I have described. At four, if he can manage it, he returns 
to his prayers, which last till six, and yet not satisfied, he must 
again go to church in the evening. Whatever may be the motive 
power of all this devotion and abnegation — be it superstition or 
be it religion — it is quite impossible not to respect it, for it is as 
honest as truth itself. 



Through the Winter 261 

His religion, his country, and the Tsar. Those, fifty years 
ago, were the three sacred objects of the Russian's worship, and 
their influence was so interwoven that it would be difficult to say 
which should be placed first. In no people could the feeling of 
nationality be more strongly developed ; it was fed by a feeling 
of proprietorship absolutely unique. Every man, however humble 
his position in the world might be, conceived himself as having a 
share in the soil equal to that of the richest : it was a relic of the 
old nomad habits of the Aryan people, who wandered over Europe 
from the Pamirs : where they pitched their tent, there they were 
free to dwell, and from the ground which they tilled theirs was 
the harvest. 

With the march of time the custom had long since faded away, 
but the idea, handed down by the remote ancestors, was still dimly 
alive in their posterity, and it was, moreover, a flicker which the 
recent emancipation of the serfs had in a measure rekindled. The 
Russian loves his country as ^something peculiarly his own, and 
he loves it, moreover, believing it to be the home of God and of 
the true religion. There is a country adage which says, " Our 
kingdom is invincible for God is in the midst of it." It must not 
be supposed that this high and patriotic feeling is confined to the 
peasants. The mighty in the land are just as ardent in this 
passionate devotion to the fatherland as their humbler fellow- 
countrymen, nor are they less strict in their religious observances. 

A very false impression is created abroad by a certain class of 
Russians who haimt the boulevards and any places where dissi- 
pation and gambling are fast and furious — only going home from 
time to time to collect more roubles to throw into the swine-yards 
of Europe. These are the men who cast a cloud upon their country 
and tarnish the good name of their fellows. So strong is the inborn 
love of home among the Slavonic races that it is a hard matter to 
persuade the mujik to emigrate : and this is no misfortune, for in 
Russia the population has never been adequate to the vast area 
of its territory or to the wants of the country. 

Emigration, as we understand it — this is to say, forming an 
establishment and foimding a family in some new land for pros- 
perity's sake — must be an idea utterly foreign to the Russian 



262 Memories 



character, which has been moulded for centuries in the idea that 
only one home is possible. 

There is one form of superstition which the Russians share with 
the ancient Greeks. They delight in euphemisms and altogether 
object to the use of unlucky words. Brutally to announce 
the death even of a dog, a horse, a cow, or some favourite 
animal would be intolerable. The awkward comer is turned by 
a pretty phrase : " Sir, your dog bids you live a long life" — that 
is the orthodox announcement. 

The strangest of all was told me by Prince Vassiltchikoff, an 
aide-de-camp attached to the War Office. He had been sent to 
Siberia on a special mission to report upon the prisons in that 
land of woe. Among other criminals he came upon a handsome 
woman, evidently of a superior class. Struck by her appearance, 
he asked her why she was there. Without hesitation the woman 
answered: " I made the sign of the cross upon my father." She 
had murdered him ! It appeared that her father had illtredted 
her chUd ; mad with rage, she stabbed him in the back. She 
expressed neither sorrow nor repentance for what she had done, 
and to all further questions her only answer was : " I have done 
wrong and I suffer for it — the rest is with myself." Could 
jEschylus himself have put more poignantly tragic words into 
that unhappy daughter's mouth ? What a saying to express 
parricide ! " I made the sign of the cross upon him." 

Duels in Russia were very rare ; all the more did they create 
a sensation when they did occur. There was a double duel which 
took place while I was there and which was much talked about. 
A young Polish officer of the Grodno Hussar regiment insulted 
two Russian officers. I never heard the rights of the story or 
what was the occasion of the quarrel. At any rate, the Pole had 
to fight both the men whom he had affronted. In the first duel, 
possibly from nervous excitement, he fired before the seconds 
gave the signal and broke his adversary's leg. The second duel 
took place the next day, and this time it was d la barriere. The 
Pole immediately on the signal to advance being given fired in 
the air. His adversary let him come forward to the extreme 
limit allowed by the agreement — five paces — took deliberate aim 



Through the Winter 263 

and shot him in the head; he died a few hours afterwards. The 
officer who killed him was a rich man of good family, but none 
the less we were told that he would be broken, reduced to the 
ranks, and have to serve as a common soldier. 

Duelling was strictly forbidden both by military and civU law. 
I suppose it is a crime, but none the less it does seem to me that 
there are certain cases in which it is a safeguard to society and 
more than permissible. The absurd journalistic duels of which 
we hear so much on the Continent are quite another matter. 

The most famous duel in the history of Russian society was 
that in which the great poet Puschkin lost his life in the winter 
of 1837. The story is a curious one. 

The poet had a very beautiful wife, whom he married at Moscow 
in 1831. He was very much in love with her, and proportionately 
jealous, especially of the attentions paid to her by an attache 
of the Dutch Legation, a certain Monsieur Dantes-Heckeren. 
Puschkin, who suspected his wife of being too much inclined to 
listen to this gentleman's blandishments, was infuriated. Coming 
home one evening, he found the Dutchman as usual sitting at tea 
with his wife ; as it was the fashion to pay visits after dinner, there 
was nothing to take umbrage at in that. Puschkin made no 
remark, but presently he turned out the lamp, throwing the room 
into darkness, and going to the fireplace, smeared some soot on 
his mouth, kissed his wife and went out of the room to get a fresh 
light. When he came back he found, as he expected, not only 
his wife's lips but the Dutchman's black with soot. Denial and 
excuses were out of the question, and Puschkin kicked the man 
out of the house. The next day they fought, and the poet received 
a mortal wound. He only lived three days and died in torture ; 
he was but thirty-eight years old. The man who killed him 
married his widow. So much for the inexorable justice of the 
ordeal by battle. 

Puschkin was the glory of Russian poetry. His was a chequered 
career, for he lived in a chronic state of being banished for treason 
and forgiven ; he was the chartered libertine of politics, and a 
very signal example of the generosity of the Emperor Nicholas. 
Over and over again his violent principles, or no principles, brought 



264 Memories 



him into disgrace ; over and over again the Tsar forgave. The 

Tsar, meeting him one foggy day in the street, recognized him, 

and bade him, since he was a poet, to improvise something. With 

consummate audacity, pointing to a street lamp, he at once spouted 

this quatrain : 

In the place of that lamp 
Which shines in the gloomy weather. 
I'd hang the head of the Tsar 
And shout out Freedom ! * 

In spite of his many escapades he died in high favour with the 
generous Tsar, who made him Gentilhomme de la Chambre and gave 
him twenty thousand roubles towards publishing his last poem. 
And yet there were people who spoke of Nicholas as a cruel, un- 
forgiving tyrant ! I think that if I were a Russian, I should be 
at least as proud of the memory of the Emperor Nicholas as of 
that of the poet Puschkin. He was indeed a great "gentleman." 

The emancipation of the serfs in the month of March, 1861, was 
the greatest act of Alexander the Second's life. Whether looked 
at from the point of view of its intrinsic difficulties, or from that 
of its consequences, it was one of the broadest social reforms ever 
undertaken by any monarch. There are perhaps few people in 
this country who understand what serfdom really meant ; it is 
usually thought that the serfs were all of them poor, ignorant 
peasants, leading squalid and hungry lives in the tillsige of the 
lands of their owners. In the vast majority of cases this, no 
doubt, was so, but thfere were many exceptions. There were not 
a few of these men who possessed better natural gifts than the 
rest, had more or less contrived to educate themselves, and had 
been allowed to push their fortunes in various capacities as trades- 
men, domestic servants, etc., in the great towns. One man of 
whom I was told on undoubted authority throve in his trade 
and became the fashionable hatter of Moscow. None the less, 
he was a slave — the property, the chattel, of a certain landlord, to 
whom a portion of his profits was yearly due. 

* la bui v' miesto phonaria 
Katorii svietiet v' niepagodu 
Vieshal bui golovu Tsaria 
I provosglocil svobodu." 




THE EMPEROR ALEXANDER II,. 1864, 

From a sketch hy{Zichy. 



Through the Winter 265 

That such a state of things should endure through more than 
the half of the nmeteenth century is at this time unthinkable, 
yet it was so ; and perhaps it would be necessary to have lived 
in Russia in the pre-liberation days in order to realize how little 
public opinion was shocked thereby. It is only fair to say that, 
in spite of the strong opposition which inevitably meets a great 
social upheaval, the Tsar was loyally helped by the more enlightened 
members of the aristocracy, men who were ready to do what they 
knew to be right, even though their properties were seriously 
affected. He was, moreover, ably seconded by his Minister of 
the Interior, Monsieur Valouieff, to whom must be given the credit 
of initiating all those measures of reform which were rendered 
necessary by the great change — especially the creation of the 
Semstvos, elective bodies something like our county councils, to 
which was delegated the management of local affairs. The nobles 
who so generously accepted what was a great sacrifice were 
rewarded by the Tsar with a special commemorative decoration. 

On the anniversary of his accession to the throne, February 18 
(March 2), 1864, the Emperor published an ukase extending the 
liberation of the serfs to Poland. The measure provided for the 
handing over to the peasants in fee simple the land which up to 
that time they had cultivated on behalf of their lords. The 
scheme was in all respects save one the same as that which had 
been propounded by the so-called National Government ; but 
whereas the latter had proposed to indemnify the proprietor from 
the general revenues of the country, the Russian Government 
undertook to buy the land at sixteen and two-thirds years' pur- 
chase, and to recoup themselves by special taxation. The land^ 
lord was to retain his own domain, always the most fertUe part 
of the property — corresponding to a sort of home farm on a gigantic 
scale, with its houses, farm buildings, etc. The Polish landlords 
were, of course, furious and declared that they would all be ruined. 
There were in rough numbers some five thousand principal owners, 
and there were in addition thirty Russian majorats (properties 
entailed upon the eldest son) which were equally concerned in 
the change. One of the representatives of the latter properties 
said to me cynically : " Nous sommes tous ruin^s. Eh bien ! 



266 Memories 



tant mieux, puisqu'il y aura plus de cinq mille de ces sacres Polonais 
qui le seront bien plus que nous." These Russian majorats were 
the rewards of services rendered against the Poles. 

One main principle which the Government had in view was 
to reward those peasants who did not join in the insurrection, 
at the expense of the landlords and the middle-class who were 
its heart and soul. The Polish peasant looked upon the landlord 
as his natural enemy — a tjnrant of whom to be rid would be Para- 
dise. He therefore was entirely pro-Russian, though he might 
not dare to declare himself. Keeping in mind this spirit, there 
were not lacking pessimists who declared that so soon as the ex- 
serf should find himself his own master, with nothing over him 
but the Russian Government, his views would be altered. With 
rebellion bom in his blood, he would join the other camp, and be 
as bitter in enmity as he had been warm in a friendship which 
for him spelt hope. In time the benefactor would degenerate into 
the tax-gatherer, and the metamorphosis would be hateful and 
of iU omen. 

The measure was framed upon a report by General Miliutin, 
who was sent on a special mission to gather information upon the 
spot ; and the pamphleteering defence of the plan was entrusted 
to that very able penman and special pleader, M. Katakazy, to 
whom I have already alluded as the writer of Prince Gortchakoff's 
three answers to Lord Russell. His work on this occasion was 
a masterpiece both in what it said and in what it held back. 

However people might carp and cavil at a piece of legislation 
which was distasteful to them, there can be no doubt that there 
was joy in the poor hovels of Poland. Still there were many shoals 
ahead needing a skilful pilot. It was easy enough to decree the 
broad principle of the ukase, but the working out of the details 
was quite another matter. Neither the Emperor nor his ministers 
had the power of creating light out of darkness. There were many 
difficulties to be mastered, many riddles to be solved, taxing the 
acutest ingenuity of the Russian statesmen. Three of the chief 
of the puzzles were the right of succession, the power of the peasant 
to sell his land, and the eternal labour question. 

As regarded the right of succession, the Government professed 



Through the Winter 267 

to attach great importance to the principle of large peasant hold- 
ings, but inasmuch as Poland was under the law of the Code 
Napol6on, it was obvious that at the death of a man with a family 
his property must be divided, and by degrees the holdings must 
become infinitesimally small. Crux No. 2. — If the peasant were 
allowed to sell or mortgage his land, the Jew usurer would soon 
be the owner of half Poland. Crux No. 3. — Where was labour to 
be found for the land left in the hands of the proprietors — as I 
have said before, the richest portion of the cultivated area ? The 
freed peasant would have his hands full with the management 
of his own holding, and the class who formerly cultivated no land 
on their own account, and therefore did not come under the scope 
of the new law, would not suffice to till the domains of the nobles. 
Each of these three puzzles itself bristled with minor perplexities 
and embarrassments enough to break the heads of General 
MUiutin and his crew of experts. 

A compensation at the rate of sixteen and two-thirds years' 
purchase may seem to us very inadequate. But the conditions of 
land in Poland were not what they are in France or in England. It 
is needful to remember the vast tracts of land lying far away from 
all communication, the scarcity of labour, the difficulty of trans- 
port, the expense of exporting produce and importing agricultural 
implements and other necessaries, and then it will be plain that 
the value of land in Russia and in Poland did not stand in the 
same relation to money as it did in England, France or Belgium, 
I feel sure that, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, 
the ukase was an honest attempt to benefit the peasant on the 
one hand, and fairly to recoup the landed proprietor on the other. 

On the 17th of April a deputation of seventy-three Polish peasants 
from the government of Warsaw and Radom arrived in St, 
Petersburg to convey to the Emperor the thanks of the agricul- 
tural labourers in Poland for the benefits conferred upon them 
by the decree. The authorities made a great fuss with them; 
they were lionized over the town in great cross-seated brakes, and 
it was good to see their happiness and their unconcealed wonder 
at aH the great sights of St. Petersburg. Most of them had pro- 
bably never been outside the circuit of their own lonely villages. 



268 Memories 



They created a great sensation, some dressed in Polish costume, 
but all wearing the square national cap — ^wUd-looking fellows 
enough, but obviously quite tame and trustworthy, for only ten 
policemen were told off to look after them. The crowning point 
of their joy was reached when the Tsar received them in person, 
and gave them a dinner at the Winter Palace. What fairy tales 
they would have to tell when they should arrive at their farms and 
cottages hidden among the desolate swamps and forests of Poland ! 

The outing lasted for several days, and on the 23rd I went with 
Lord Napier to the banquet given to the deputation and to an 
equal number of specially selected Russian peasants from the dis- 
trict round the capital, who were told off to entertain the strangers 
and do the honours of the city. As they did not understand one 
word of one another's language, their comradeship must have 
lacked gaiety. But the meeting symbolized the union of the 
two nations, and in spite of the dearth of conversation, it made a 
good appearance of fraternization, and that was held to be much. 
The banquet took place in the Gorodskaia Duma, a sort of ex- 
traordinarily shabby town hall, something like a second-class 
waiting-room at a railway station. However, the frame was a 
secondary consideration so long as the picture was all right. 

Presently there was a great stir outside and we were told that 
the Emperor was arriving. On hearing this joj^ul news, an en- 
thusiastic Pole near me spat freely into his hands and proceeded 
to plaster down his hair and wash his face like a cat. Un petit bout 
de toilette ! as Wigan, the great actor, used to say in The First Night. 

The loyal joy with which the Emperor was received was very 
touching. As usual, he played his part most nobly, was very 
gracious and kingly, and as he walked round the hall had a smile 
and a kind word for almost every one of the men. When he had 
finished his round one of the men shouted in a stentorian voice : 
" Let us drink to the Tsar." This raised a thunder of applause 
and cheering, after which the Emperor, standing in the midst of the 
hall, was served with a glass of wine and said : " I drink to the 
indissoluble imion of the two nations ! " This, of course, was 
received with yells of joy, the men cheering like Eton boys on the 
Fourth of June. 



Through the Winter 269 

The Grand Duke Constantine was with the Tsar, and as he had 
recently returned from governing Poland, he was recognized and 
received a special ovation, upon which the Emperor drank to him 
and kissed him — he was his favourite brother, to whom he was 
deeply attached ; the Grand Duke kissed him in return on the 
left breast — a pretty token of love and duty. 

The Poles looked very picturesque and quaint in their national 
costume, but it was impossible not to be struck by the far finer 
appearance of their Russian compeers (of course both parties were 
made up more or less of picked men). Then the Russians wore 
beards, which so well befit the kaftan and northern dress, besides 
covering a multitude of sins against beauty, while the Poles were 
shaven, showing all their imperfections of feature. I was well 
pleased to have the opportunity of seeing this historic banquet. 
Lord Napier was the only foreigner invited, and I went in attend- 
ance upon him. 

The Emperor's staff were always worthy of his own imposing 
appearance. The Imperial family who surrounded him were all 
men of great stature and good carriage, while old Prince Suvoroff, 
Monsieur Valouieff, the Minister of the Interior, and many of the 
general officers and aides-de-camp were fine, strikingly tall men. 
It was a goodly company of Anakim. Monsieur Valouieff, although 
in civilian dress, was so handsome a figure as to be always 
conspicuous, even among the brilliantly accoutred warriors ; 
perhaps, like Lord Castlereagh at Vienna, he was only the more 
distinguished ! 

It seemed a pity that in so beautiful a city, where there is a 
wealth of magnificent buildings, there should have been no worthier 
place for a really memorable feast than this mean semblance of a 
town hall, which certainly did not beseem the occasion. 

Well may the Russians call the sennight that goes before Lent 
" the mad week." Another name for it is maslianitza, or " butter 
week," but I prefer the first, for indeed Bedlam is let loose and 
plays the wildest pranks, and no one can say that the mujik takes 
his pleasures sadly. At the beginning of the week my coachman 
came to me and> according to treaty, asked leave to go and get 



270 Memories 



drunk. These coachmen are really great characters. They are 
out in all weather, and never grumble at being kept waiting for 
nours when the mercury in the thermometer has almost fallen 
out of sight. They show no signs of boredom or weariness. My 
man, Mikhail, for want of better company would conjure away 
the tedium by talking out loud to himself. I sometimes watched 
him out of my window enjoying his own conversation, shaking 
his head, cracking jokes and laughing his heart out at them, or 
telling himself some tear-compelling tale of woe. He was the 
ugliest man in the town and as true as steel — on one condition: 
every now and then he must get drunk ; so we entered into a solemn 
compact which he never broke. 

He would. come to me from time to time, perhaps twice in a 
month, and say that it was long since he had been happy — would 
my Excellency be pleased to name a day when it would be con- 
venient for him to be absent — anglice, " get drunk." I would look 
at my engagement book and see what I had to do. Monday, the 
French Embassy — Tuesday, a big ball — Wednesday, a ceremony 
at Court — should we say Thursday ? " Slava Bogu " (" Glory be 
to God "), he would answer, " it shall be Thursday with your Excel- 
lency's forgiveness." On the Friday he would reappear with clock- 
work punctuality — a little pale and rather heavy-lidded, but per- 
fectly cheerful. Without such an arrangement one was never 
safe. I had to dismiss four coachmen before I found this one, who 
was a treasure, and never played me false. The bargain was part 
of a system before which all foreigners, at any rate, had to bow 
lest worse befall them. 

To see the saturnalia of the week at their maddest one had 
to go to the great Admiralty Place, the huge area of which was 
entirely taken up by booths, circuses, giants and dwarfs, cheap 
pantomimes and ballets, boneless contortionists and the inevit- 
able Hercules of the Fair, with his weights and clubs. There was 
one very droll and quite national exhibition consisting of a re- 
presentation of the creation of the world from chaos to the fall 
of man, in which the marionettes, worked by springs into all sorts 
of comicalities, were the actors. Of course there were ice-moun- 
tains for tobogganing, but by far the most popular entertainments 



Through the Winter 271 

were the merry-go-rounds, which swarmed, filling every vacant 
place and making the days and nights hideous with the braying 
of discordant brass bands. But the noise and the riot were a pure 
delight to man, woman and child, whose shrieks of joy added 
pepper and salt to the great charivari. All the riff-raff of the 
town was gathered together, those happy ones who had a few 
kopecks rushing eagerly to spend them ; the unfortunates who 
could not muster a copper quite as keen, some standing for hours 
knee-deep in the melting snow — for it was a dirty thaw — peering 
into the chinks between the boards of the theatres to try and get 
a peep at the glories within ; others encouraging the patrons of 
the ice-mountains and wooden horses with approving shouts and 
wild applause. Making their way slowly, tortuously and with 
much splashing of icy slush through the seething crowd, were 
carriages "full of middle-class folk who had come to see " all the 
fun of the fair," while numbers of policemen, mounted and on 
foot, bawling and swearing at nothing, and for nothing, added 
to the din of the inferno. 

Here was indeed King Carnival supreme in state. But all 
this was but the prelude ; the crowning glory of the festival was 
yet to come. For what is joy without vodka, and what is vodka 
unless it be drunk in sufficient quantities to drown memory and 
consciousness ? The nrnjik would probably endorse the five 
classical reasons for drinking — i. The advent of a friend. 2. You 
are thirsty. 3. You may be thirsty some time hence. 4. The 
good quality of the liquor. 5. Any other reason ! 

I am reminded as I write these lines that in a few days the mad 
week of 1915 will take place, and there will be no vodka ! What 
will happen ? What will my poor Mikhail do if he be yet alive ? 

And we ! How were we spending the mad week, while the 
proletariat were pla5dng high jinks on the Admiralty Place ? The 
great folk were in what Shakespeare calls " holiday humour," no 
less than the small, and they too were bent on making the most 
of the last merriment that the Church would allow till the long 
spell of Lenten sadness should be past ; and this they achieved 
by turning day into night. By one o'clock in the afternoon we 
had to array ourselves in evening dress to go and eat blinni at one 



272 Memories 



or another of our kind friends' hospitable houses. Blinni are a 
sort of scone, a cross between a pancake and a crumpet, eaten with 
fresh butter and caviare, a very tempting form of food. After 
feasting upon blinni comes dancing, generally a regular ball, with 
cotillon and mazurka complete. Then dressing for dinner, two 
or three parties and at least one ball. All business at a standstill, 
nothing but pleasure, more pleasure and yet again pleasure. By 
the end of the week the world seemed a little limp, and I think we 
all realized that " surfeit is the father of much fast."* 

It was not very often that the men of letters made an appearance 
in the society of St. Petersburg. I was all the more interested 
when one evening Lord Napier invited a few of them to dinner at 
the Embassy ; amongst them was Turgenieff , the famous author — 
a tall, strikingly handsome man with grey hair — altogether a 
commanding figure. I was much disappointed at not being able 
to hear him talk, but I was placed a long way from him, and as 
he left immediately after dinner, I had no opportunity of speaking 
with him. I sat next to M. Novikoff, an official of high position, 
who was very communicative. 

The conversation round us turned upon the colonizing policy of 
the old Romans, with whom M. Novikoff foimd great fault, saying 
how foolish it was of them to punish as a crime any attempt on 
the part of the conquered tribes to regain their liberty. Such 
attempts, according to him, might be treated as acts of war, but 
not visited with the severity merited by treason. I could not 
help hinting to M. Novikoff that the policy which he so strongly 
condemned in the Romans was something uncommonly like, or 
even identical with, that of Russia in Poland. M. Novikoff 
became very much confused and changed the subject to that of 
the liberation of the serfs. In this connection he talked of M. 
Valouieff, the responsible minister, in terms of contempt, which 
quite took me by surprise. I ventured to ask whether M. Valouieff 
was not held to be a man of great talent. His answer was 
characteristic : " Mon Dieu, oui ! puisque I'Empereur I'a voulu." 

The chronicling of the small beer of parties is but poor stuff; 
and yet there was one party which to me meant very strong ale 
* Measure for Measure, 



Through the Winter 273 



indeed, and so I am fain to write of it even after fifty years. One 
evening M. Jean Tolstoy sent out about thirty invitations for a 
very small gathering, myself among the number, to meet the Tsar, 
and listen to music. As the Emperor was expected, I of course 
retired into the background, deeming that he would only wish to 
speak to the gros bonnets ; however, when M. Tolstoy led 
him into the room he gave a look round, and seeing me, to the 
amazement, not to say petrifaction, of the mighty, he came striding 
up to me, shook hands and began talking in Russian, saying that 
he heard that I was learning his language. I bowed — and he 
went on speaking. 

For a few minutes we conversed in Russian, and then, after paying 
me many compliments, to my relief he changed to French. He 
asked me a great many questions in connection with my new 
study — did I not find it very difficult ? What language did I think 
it most resembled ? I told him that I thought there was similarity 
with none so far as I knew, except as regarded Aryan roots, but 
that there were more grammatical analogies with Greek than with 
any other language of which I had any knowledge. He agreed, 
and that led him to speak of Latin, reminding me of what I had 
said to him at my presentation about the public orator's speech 
at Oxford, at whose expense he once more laughed heartily. He 
spoke for some little time about life at the University and the 
beauty of Oxford, which seemed to have interested him greatly, 
and after a very pleasant talk, went on to speak to some of the 
other guests. Any mark of the Emperor's condescension was sure 
to make a great sensation at St. Petersburg, and for twenty-four 
hours I was quite a hero. " On dit que I'Empereur a caus6 avec 
vous en Russe — vous devez en etre joliment fier ! " That was the 
gist of what everyone whom I met the next day said to me. I 
should have been even less or more than human if I had not felt 
flattered and proud. 

One evening Lady Napier, who had rather broken down after 
the trials of the winter and was soon gomg to' Germany for a rest 
and change, mvited a few of the diplomats and other friends to a 
small farewell rout. Belloli, the painter, had just sent home a 
portrait of her which was much praised. General Cassius Clay, 
VOL. I 18 



274 Memories 



after looking at it thoughtfully for a few moments and then at her, 
said : " I guess, Ma'am, you was ruddier when that was done." 
Our much-loved ambassadress certainly was looking a little pale, 
and tired ; but the good General probably never heard the old 
saying, " Toute v6rit6 n'est pas boime a dire." The Due d'Osuna 
was even more droll. His criticism of the portrait was : " Oui, 
c'est zoli — c'est mgme tres bien ; mais le portrait qu'il a fait de 
moi est bien plus zoli ! " He was such a dear little man, and so 
kindly, that one loved him just as he was with his weaknesses and 
small vanities, which hurt nobody ; everyone laughed, and nobody 
would have wished him otherwise. 

At Prince Gortchakoff's on the i8th we heard the news of the 
storming and capture of Diippel. The Prince's remark to the 
Prussian charge d'affaires on getting the telegram was, " J'espere 
enfin que c'est la paix ! " He did not seem to think that the 
united forces of Austria and Prussia combined had much to boast 
of in having beaten unassisted Denmark. 

Baron Plessen, the Danish Minister at St. Petersburg, was a 
man of great ability, calm, just and moderate in his views. One 
day he talked to me for a long time about the war and the causes 
which led to it. The pith of his remarks is worth transcribing. 
" If France and England had been able to agree upon this affair 
the war might have been prevented. Russia would not have re- 
mained idle, and it is known to which side her sympathies lean. 
But France and England could not agree. Meanwhile England 
has been perpetually making apparent advances towards action 
which have encouraged the Danes to prolong their obstinate re- 
sistance. The Danes at Copenhagen see matters far differently 
from us, who, calmly and at a distance, can weigh the truth of 
reports and judge of the exact bearing of protests and proposi- 
tions. At Copenhagen the public mind is so inflamed that a mere 
piece of newspaper tittle-tattle is enough to convince men that 
England and France will actually send a fleet to the Baltic, and 
this it is which caused the Danes so stubbornly to refuse an armis- 
tice which would have saved Diippel and spared thousands of 
lives. But with the best intentions, England has been a bad friend 
to Denmark, for she has raised expectations which she could not 



Through the Winter 275 



realize. Even if she had detennined upon helping Denmark, she 
could not have spared an adequate land force. 

" As for Sweden, she promised her twenty thousand men and did 
not send them ; but if she had performed her promises, the Germans 
would have called in forty thousand troops, and she would have 
been of no use. Besides, it must be admitted that the dismember- 
ment of Denmark would never be really displeasing to Sweden, 
who has always had an eye upon the islands. . . . England has 
throughout treated Germany with too little respect — she thought 
that she had only to speak to be obeyed. But the Germans are 
strong, and too proud to bear dictation." 

Obviously Baron Plessen disapproved of the action of his 
Government in " prolonging their obstinate resistance " at the 
bidding of the Copenhagen mob, whom they feared ; and much as 
I admired the gallant defence of Diippel, I could not help sharing 
his view. But the important point for us in what he said lay in 
his remarks about the fast-and-loose policy for which Lord Russell 
was responsible, and the wavering encouragement without which 
the Danes might " have saved Diippel and spared thousands of 
lives." That unstable swinging of the pendulum was a blame 
which no special pleading could remove. And what it cost ! And 
what it is costing now, fifty-one years later ! 

April 22nd (loth). — Until this morning there was no sign of 
the breaking up of the Neva. The weather for some days had 
been beautiful, the nights lovely, and nowhere can the entrancing 
splendour of moonlight and starlight be seen to greater advantage 
than in this city of gold and silver spires. How poor Whistler 
would have revelled in it ! One night, in addition to the usual 
glories of the darkness, there was a perfect lunar rainbow bent by 
the fairies over the Isaac's Cathedral. But of spring no faintest 
message. All at once my servant came running in with the news 
that the river was moving. I hurried out to the embankment, 
and found all the world and his wife there, watching the welcome 
wonder. It seemed as if no one could stay at home and miss the 
great sight of the year. 

For many days the ice of the solid river had been quite black, 
but now it had turned white again, and was slowly, almost 
VOL. I 18* 



276 Memories 



imperceptibly, drifting seaward. Gradually yawning clefts showed 
themselves and the huge mass was split into great blocks. Then 
the rush of the river began in earnest ; deserted hayboats, looking 
picturesquely gloomy against the dazzling ice and sky, came 
floating down the stream, to be dashed into a thousand splinters 
against the permanent bridges. A few unhappy dogs which had 
been unwarily disporting themselves upon the river while it was 
yet unbroken were unable to make their escape, and were carried 
away to the Baltic on the iceblocks, howling piteously. It was 
impossible to leave the crowded quay while the sight lasted, and 
at night the effect was even more fascinating ; the moonlit steeples 
and towers, reflected a myriad-fold on the facets of the ice, made 
the strange beauty of a scene which, even upon the Russians, does 
not pall. 

The following morning at a little before ten o'clock the thunder 
peals from the gims of the fortress announced that the ceremony 
of crossing the water had begun. Every year, as soon as the river 
is free of the danger of the larger masses of what are miniature 
icebergs, the Commandant of the Fortress is rowed over in state 
to the Winter Palace to carry to the Emperor a goblet of Neva 
water. His Majesty in return fills the cup with gold pieces — a per- 
quisite of the Commandant. These cunning officers used to take care 
to procure the largest vessel that could be found, until at last the 
abuse was stopped and a fixed measure adopted for the ceremony. 

No boat may cross the river before the Commandant, but he is 
followed by quite a little fleet of river craft manned by mujihs 
in their different-coloured shirts, on a bright morning a picturesquely 
quaint sight. Salvos of artillery ; curiously-shaped and many- 
coloured boats ; guards presenting arms ; the rays of the sun 
turning the ice-blocks into gigantic opals ; the crowds watching 
on the quays ; the golden steeples all ablaze with light ; drums 
rattling and trumpets blaring ; flags flying from every window ! 
After this fashion Russia celebrates the funeral rites of the winter, 
the baptism of the spring. 

When the Almighty first set his bow in the cloud it was not more 
welcome than the arrival of Palm Sunday to the starving Russian. 



Through the Winter 277 

It does not make an end of the sorrows of Lent, but it comes laden 
with hope : the austere and hungry days are numbered, and the 
beginning of a series of sublime ceremonials brings with it the 
buds of a new joy which will burst into life with the dawn of the 
paschal feast. 

Very solemn are the observances of the Holy Week in the Greek 
Church. The liturgies are grand, imposing, soul-stirring ; their 
music so compelling and emotional that they bring home to one 
the strength of Tolstoy's great saying, " Le sentiment religieux 
est apr^s tout indispensable." 

As a race, judging by the way in which we face our religion, we 
Britons are, I suppose, an unemotional people. With us ritual 
is a question of the individual ; to one man a stimulus, to his 
neighbour a horror. In Russia, on the contrary, it seems to be a 
national necessity, satisfying an endemic craving ; to the lower 
orders, indeed, the be-all and end-all of religion : not, as I think I 
have already shown, a religion necessarily acting as a high moral 
force or even as a deterrent, but in some mystic way a spiritual 
comfort in the present, as it is in the future the promise of the 
wiping out of all crime and salvation by virtue of the great Sacri- 
fice. For the Slav the call to the soul must be through the 
imagination, and that is where the imagery of the Greek Church 
triumphs. A highly symbolical ritual is of the very essence of the 
orthodox faith, and since ritual there must be, where could you find 
it more reverent, more devotional, more suggestive of the Divine 
Mystery, than in the services of these last days of Lent ? The 
music breathes tragedy ; the swelling voices of the choristers rise 
from the lowest depth of sorrow to the sublimest heights of ecstatic 
adoration ; the canticles and antiphons are so entirely one with 
the rites of the Passion that I imagined that this heaven-bom 
music must be as old as the liturgies themselves, foreshadowing 
Wagner's theory of the twin-birth of music and poetry. But 
that is not so. I was informed that it is no older than 
the eighteenth century. Could it, I wonder, have been based upon 
some much more ancient model ? It is difficult to conceive these 
services without the solemn chanting of the priests which is of 
their very essence. 



2/8 Memories 



Palm Sunday Eve is one of the holiest of the anniversaries ob- 
served by the Greek Church ; none is more pregnant with sym- 
bolism. Prince Gortchakoff, always kind, invited me to attend 
the evening service in his chapel. It was a singularly impressive 
ceremonial, not, of course, so steeped in tragic emotion as those 
which would follow later in the week, for sjnnbolically we were 
celebrating a joy, not a death — the triimiphant procession when 
the people shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David, welcoming 
with loud acclaim the entry of their King into His capital, " coming 
in the name of the Lord." 

The first striking feature of the holy rite was the bringing in 
of a small table upon which were set out vessels containing oil, 
wine, grain and five loaves typifying the five barley loaves with 
which the Saviour fed the five thousand in the desert place near 
Bethsaida. Very reverently these were blessed by the priest, 
who at the same time offered up a prayer to God that oil and wine 
and grain might not fail His people during the ensuing year. 

The great moment was when the palm branches were produced, 
carried in a huge pot to be blessed, sprinkled with holy water, and 
incensed with the fumes of consecrated spices and gums. To 
each of the congregation a taper was given by an attendant, and 
one of the newly-blessed palm branches was handed by the 
officiating prest to each of us. The priest then entered the Holy 
of Holies, Sviataia Sviatuich, by the Doors of the Lord, and we 
symbolically followed the Son of David on his royal progress. 
The Gospel was read, the blessing delivered, and the service, which 
had lasted two hours, during which we remained standing, was 
at an end. 

None but a consecrated priest may cross the threshold of the 
Doors of the Lord or enter the Sviataia Sviatuich. The crazy 
Emperor Paul once received a just rebuke from the Metropohtan 
for wishing to break this law. The Emperor stands much in the 
same relation to the Orthodox Church in Russia as the King of 
England does to our Church. He is the Head, that is, the eldest 
son, of the Church, but he cannot offitSate or even vote in the Synod. 
The Emperor Paul, however, wished, as Head of the Church, 
himself to conduct the service. Full of religious ardour, he arrived 



Through the Winter 279 



one day by the side door of the altar, and was received by the 
Metropolitan. The Tsar called for priest's robes, announced his 
intention of celebrating the Mass, and prepared to enter the Holy 
of Holies, when, just as he was about to pass the threshold of the 
Doors of the Lord, the prelate stood before him, barring the way, 
and said, " Kneel, sire ! This is your place. You may go no 
further." The Emperor, to do him justice, took the reprimand 
well, and the MetropoUtan did not suffer for his bold speech. This 
story is not recorded in history — ^it is not likely to be ; but it was 
told me by a Russian gentleman of high position, and is a matter 
of common knowledge. 

On the Thursday in Passion Week there is a very interesting 
ceremony : the washing of the feet of twelve priests in the Isaac's 
Cathedral. I had been misinformed as to the time, and so 
unfortunately missed it. 

In a Church in whose offices emotion plays so intense — ^if it did 
not savour of impiety one would be tempted to say so dramatic — 
a part. Good Friday must inevitably be celebrated by ceremonies 
imaging the blackest woe. Nowhere is the tragedy of the Cross 
represented with so much realism — a realism that might easily 
have degenerated into something shocking, were it not so hallowed 
by a veneration bom of the Divine Love which said, " This do in 
remembrance of Me." It is hardly too much to say that on this 
day the orthodox Christian lives through the whole awful tragedy 
now nearly two thousand years old. No other man sees it so 
vividly before his eyes. 

In the morning, torn by sorrow, he takes down the Body of the 
Saviour from the Cross, and with as much reverence as if it were 
a real corpse, lays it in a lighted funeral chapel to await the burial 
service of the evening. This I was allowed to witness in the 
Imperial Chapel of the Winter Palace. The service began with 
a Mass. The priests, of whom there were four besides the 
arch-priest, the deacons, readers and choir, were all in deep 
mourning ; the latter in a sort of Court dress, with swords, the 
clergy in vestments of black velvet and silver. The Mass was, 
as I was told, performed after the traditions of the worship of the 
early Christians in the catacombs. In the centre of the church 



28o Memories 



was the bier, covered with a cloth representing an effigy of the 
dead Saviour, with the Gospel on the breast as at a funeral. 

Indeed, the whole ceremony is a solemn funeral service. During 
the Mass every person present was presented with a lighted wax 
taper, and the bier was surrounded by magnificent candelabra 
canying wax lights. As soon as the Mass was over, the choir 
drew themselves up in triple row behind the priests, who stood 
on each side of the bier, the arch-priest in the centre, with two 
deacons supporting him, facing the altar. Then arose the fimeral 
dirge, sung by about fifty fine voices, very soft and still, the basses 
especially making a fine effect — all the music unaccompanied. 
At the end of the funeral chant the key changed, and there followed 
a louder canticle. The priests, one at each comer, and the chief 
priest in the middle, raised the bier upon their heads and carried 
it round the church, the whole congregation kneeling and touching 
the ground with their foreheads while they devoutly crossed them- 
selves. The bier having been replaced and the choir having taken 
up their former position, the deacon thundered out the Ehtenia, 
a litany in which the choir made the responses " Gospodi pomilui " 
(" Lord, have mercy ! "). 

After this the deacon read a short passage from one of the 
epistles, and went into the Holy of Holies to fetch the Gospel, 
which he presented with a reverence to the chief priest, who 
read a portion of the Scripture and delivered a blessing. 

The Gospel having been taken back into the Sviaiaia Svtaiuich, 
the chief priest fell upon his knees and made two low obeisances, 
each time touching the floor with his forehead ; drawing near to 
the bier, he kissed the head and feet of the image and the book of 
the Gospels which lay upon the breast, and retired with a third 
obeisance. Two by two, the other priests followed his example, 
each, as he retired, bowing to the chief priest and to his colleague. 
Next the deacons, and after them the congregation, beginning with 
the ladies present, went through the same reverent formalities, 
and the ceremony was at an end. 

No description, at least none of which I am the master, Ccin 
convey an adequate idea of the solemnity and impressive grandeur 
of this rite. I can but set down what I saw. Let each man fill 



Through the Winter 281 

in the colouring for himself ; the trappings of woe ; the hushed 
voices of the dirge ; the thunder-peals of the deacon in the Ek- 
tenia ; the choking emotion of the celebrants ; the burial of the 
dead Christ ! 

More precious than all the gold and jewels and ornaments with 
which the piety of potentates has enriched the Imperial chapels 
are two relics which are held in great veneration : the hand of 
St. John the Baptist, and the portrait of the Blessed Virgin painted 
by St. Luke. The hand of the Baptist was a present given by 
the Head of the Order of the Knights of Malta to the Emperor 
Paul. Of the picture by St. Luke I had but a very hazy sight. 
I should have liked to have held it in my hand, or at any rate, 
to have been allowed a close inspection of it. No doubt I might 
have obtained that favour for the asking, but I did not like to 
risk being considered indiscreet. As it was, I could see nothing 
but a gorgeous frame with a golden crown and precious stones 
such as adorn all the sacred pictures of the Church. Dim with 
age, tb^. picture itself at the distance at which I saw it was a 
cloud. 

I wonder how much money was spent in St. Petersburg on 
Saturday, April i8th (30th), being Easter Eve. It is a great day 
for buying and selling, and the market is so beset by crowds of 
eager customers, keenly bent on buying the wherewithal to break 
the long fast which ends at midnight, that the mounted police 
have to muster in force in order to preserve some semblance of 
order. Shortly before midnight on Easter Eve the town was 
illuminated by candles placed at intervals along the pavement, 
the guns of the fortress began to crash out their joy-signals, and 
the pious folk flocked to the churches to hear the priest give out 
the glorious news of the resurrection of the Saviour. 

The celebration of Easter at the Isaac's Cathedral is said to 
be quite magnificent ; but I did not see it, for I was bidden to 
keep the feast at Princess Kotchoubey's and I could not refuse, 
as she had always been so kind to me. The service of a chapel 
in a private house, however grand it may be, can never come up 
to the gorgeous spectacle such as that of the great procession which 
thrice marches round the colossal building. Still the ceremony 



282 Memories 



was very imposing, and the entertainment afterwards, as always 
where the Princess is hostess, sumptuous in the extreme. 

In the streets the night which heralds Easter is a mad jubilee. 
Everybody salutes everybody else with the joyful cry, first uttered 
by the priest in church, " Christos Voskres " (" Christ has arisen "), 
and everybody answers " Dieistvelno on Voskres " (" Of a truth He 
has arisen "). By four o'clock in the morning the proletariat is 
very drunk and very happy. The noise and the shouting and 
the merriment might be in honour of a great victory, as indeed 
it is — ^the Divine victory over death ! 

By dawn the booths and merry-go-rounds of the Butter Week 
have sprung up like mushrooms in an August night, and all through 
Easter Sunday the cry of " Christos Voskres " will be dinning in our 
ears. As for the poor Emperor, the twenty-four hours were 
enough to tire him out. Think of having to kiss from seven to 
eight hundred people directly after midnight ; and then to begin 
again with deputation^ from each of the regiments of the Guards 
after breakfast ! The Empress had to plead her poor health in 
order to escape from the fatigue of these receptions. I some- 
times thought that it must need the strength of a Samson to bear 
the weight of duty that is laid upon a Russian Emperor. Alexander 
the Second carried himself nobly and equably through the weary 
rites and ceremonies that are the heritage of Tsardom's woe ; 
but what a strain it must often have been ! 



After the long weeks of fasting and the ten wild days of feast 
and revelry, St. Petersburg began to calm down and the world, 
high and low, was at peace. 

May 4. — ^A storm of indignation was raised by the arrival of 
the Independance Beige with the report of a speech delivered by 
Pope Pius IX. in the Consistory upon the occasion of a canoniza- 
tion. His Holiness, while in the same breath disclaiming any 
intention of fomenting revolt of of encouraging treason, made a 
furious attack upon the Tsar for his policy in Poland He accused 
him of endeavouring to uproot the Roman Catholic religion, of 



Through the Winter 283 



exciting rebellion under the pretence of quelling it, of transporting 
whole populations to frozen and desolate regions, and of removing 
bishops from the functions to which the Church had called them. 
There is nothing so dangerous, nothing so misleading as falsehood 
with a thin veneer of truth. No one can deny that great numbers 
of Poles had been deported ; but many, if not most, of them had 
been sent to Samara, a province in the south-east of European 
Russia, rich in that famous black earth which makes a farmers' 
paradise, in which niunbers of prosperous German colonists were 
doing a thriving trade in wheat, tobacco, cattle and horses, while 
even those who were sent to Siberia were described to me by an 
Englishman who had just come from there as quite happy and 
comfortably established with their families. Siberia is by no 
means the cruel country about which such terrible tales have 
been served up for European consumption, dressed with all the 
condiments of fanatic hatred. 

Even Dostoievski — no friend to the Russian Government — 
when writing against the prison system of Siberia, to which he 
was sent for political reasons, speaks almost with affection of 
the country itself. It was the life of the criminal convict in Siberia 
which was such a nightmare, and with that the transported Poles 
had nothing to do. But Siberia was always a good name of terror, 
and as such the Pope made rhetorical capital of it. As regards 
the question of uprooting the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, 
there can be no doubt that the Greek Church has always been 
very intolerant. There was indeed a time — ^in the Middle Ages — 
when the followers of other creeds were not looked upon as Chris- 
tians ; the Russian chroniclers called the Roman Catholics " im-- 
baptized Latins," holding that there could be no baptism without 
total immersion ; and when the Tsar received ambassadors it 
was customary for him to give them his hand, but in the audience 
hall there was kept a golden vessel in which the autocrat might 
wash off the contamination. 

Though these prejudices were dead and matters of history, the 
hatred which inspired them was very much alive, and the fighting 
in Poland was in a great measure a war of religion. Still it was 
simply an invention of the priests, wishful to keep up the spirit 



284 Memories 



of rebellion, to say that there was any desire on the part of the 
Government to extirpate their faith. 

The Polish peasants, who were as ignorant as their own cattle, 
were told by the priests that the worship of God according to the 
Catholic creed was forbidden in Russia, and that persons who 
died in that communion were refused Christian burial, and thrown 
out into the forests and wastes to rot or be devoured by the wolves. 
In order to disabuse the Poles of these ideas, the deputation of 
peasants of whom I have already spoken were taken to Mass in 
the great Romish church and also to visit the Roman Catholic 
burial ground. Seeing, it was hoped, would be believing. 

In official life both Roman Catholics and Lutherans have held 
high places. Curiously enough Count Nesselrode, the famous 
Chancellor, was a member of the Church of England, having been 
baptized on board a British man-of-war, and till his death he 
remained a faithful son of our creed. Count Creptovitch, who 
was formerly Minister in England, and whom I knew well, was 
a Roman Catholic, and held a great position. Many others could 
be named. But would Count Creptovitch, a devout Roman 
Catholic, have given the support of his great name to a Govern- 
ment pledged to the extirpation of his communion from any part 
of the Empire ? The thing was absurd and incredible on the 
face of it. 

Of the third accusation brought by Pope Pius — ^that of the 
removal of the bishops — it was not difficult to dispose. The Arch- 
bishop of Warsaw and the Bishop of Vilna had been politically 
very troublesome — not a matter of infrequent occurrence among 
the soldiers of a very militant Church. They were requested to 
leave their sees until matters should have settled down, and they 
had not much to complain of. They were extricated without 
any loss of dignity from a very difficult position and were allowed 
to retain all their honours, titles and emoluments, a slight deduc- 
tion being made from the latter to cover certain expenses which 
were a liability of their offices ; and there seemed no reason to 
preclude their return in happier and more peaceful times once 
more to take possession of the charge of their flocks. 

The Pope's speech was certainly injudicious and ill-timed. His 



Througrh the Winter 285 

Holiness had evidently been misinformed ; zeal had, not for the 
first time in the world's history, outrun truth. 

May the 9th. — I suppose that there could hardly be a more 
magnificent military spectacle than that of the Spring Parade 
held on the Champ de Mars. The Empress and all the great 
people of St. Petersburg were present in a grand stand, by which 
a httle ragged cur had taken up his position and, sitting upright 
on his tail, watched the proceedings as a rather captious critic 
from beginning to end, moving his head from side to side with 
unflagging interest. When the Emperor rode on to the ground 
surrounded by his brilliant staff of generals and aides-de-camp, 
he passed in front of each corps and to each he addressed the 
question, " Are you well, my children ? " and the men thundered 
out, " We wish you health ! " When the march past began, the 
Tsar signified his approbation of each squadron or battalion, and 
the men roared with one voice, " Glad to do our best." There 
were thirty-two thousand men in all, under the orders of the 
Grand Duke Nicholas*— a noble-looking host, as gorgeous as 
glittering uniforms could make them. At the head of the other 
troops, the mail-clad Circassian body-guard, dashing past at a 
gallop, some of them throwing down their scimitars in front of 
them and heeling over to pick them up again at the saluting- 
point, made a gallant and fantastic show, with just a touch of 
Asian mystery to add a glamour of the East to the picture. 

The cavalry of the Guard, splendidly mounted, with their 
cuirasses and helmets flaming in the sunshine ; the pennons of 
the lancers ; the infantry ; the artillery ; all spick and span, 
showed off the panoply of war in its most attractive shape — ' 
altogether a dazzling pageant. Whether it was anything more 
than that one witness seemed to doubt, for when the last man 
had marched past and the Emperor turned to leave the ground, 
the little dog got up, stretched himself, yawned and proceeded to 
mark his contempt of the whole proceedings in the most accen- 
tuated fashion. One Russian gentleman, a statesman in a very 

• The father of the present (1915) Commander-in-Chief of the Russian 
army in Poland and Galicia. 



286 Memories 



high position, told me that it had been his custom for years to 
attend this annual review, wondering at its stateliness, and that 
his pride used to rise in hero-worship when he thought of the 
invincibility of these glorious , warriors. 

The Alma and Inkermann shook him in his faith, and since 
then he had left off his yearly visit to the Champ de Mars ; there 
was " trop de clinquant et trop peu de realite." He agreed with 
the little dog. 

One thing struck even my unskilled civilian eye : as the artillery 
came rattling imder a window in the British Embassy, which 
looked on to the parade groimd, I noticed that no two batteries 
were armed with the same pattern of gun. I could not help won- 
dering what would be the effect of this in action ; whether there 
was not great risk of mistakes in the serving out of ammunition, 
and other conceivable causes of confusion. 

That evening at dinner at the Club Anglais* I chanced to sit 
next to a general of&cer with whom I was acquainted, and I asked 
him what was the reason of this difference in the equipment of 
the various batteries. His answer was that the great authorities 
on artillery had not yet come to a conclusion as to what was the 
best service gun, so Russia was biding her time and allowing the 
other armies to make experiments for her benefit. 

It so happened, however, that I knew of six or more agents 
for different gun factories in England, France, and Germany, 
who were staying in St. Petersburg with well-filled pouches touting 
for their several firms ; and this had been going on for months ; 
so the Russian gunners had to deal with weapons of many patterns, 
the efficiency of the army being made of no account so long as 
those pouches continued to empty themselves and bulge once 
more. This was a point upon which the Embassies were better 
informed than the ministers of the Emperor. 

* An excellent and hospitable club, " Anglais" only in name, of which the 
cbfps diplomatique were made honorary members. 



CHAPTER XIII 
1864 

MOSCOW 

May 18. 

" T S there anybody here who can speak English ? Oh ! IS 
A there anybody here who can speak EngUsh ? " A piteous 
cry from a brother Briton in distress must be attended to. It 
came from a first-class carriage in the train for Moscow standing 
in the station at St. Petersburg. I found a young man trying 
in vain to come to some understanding with the guard ; he knew 
neither French nor German nor Russian ; indeed, his English was 
none of the best, his aspirates being indiscriminately used or 
omitted. 

When I had solved his difficulties for him he told me that he was 
travelling for pleasure to see the world. He had been staying 
at the boarding house chiefly used by " drummers" — travellers of 
English commercial houses. Of the country, its institutions and 
customs he knew absolutely nothing ; but the drummers had 
stored his mind with all manner of gruesome tales of the dangers 
and terrors threatening the unwary traveller. Murray's guide to 
him was all-sufficient, unless he found himself in some position of 
alarming difficulty, when he would dismally howl his " cuckoo- 
cry" — " Is there anybody," etc. One night he had nearly collapsed 
with fear. He had been to some place of entertainment and was 
being driven home when, finding himself in a rather narrow, dark 
street, he took into his head that his coachman was deco57ing him 
to some thieves' den (Oh ! those drummers !) where he would 
be robbed and murdered. He stopped the astonished coachman, 

287 



288 Memories 



who must have thought him mad, and began yeUing for help. His 
shouts soon brought a good-natured polyglot Russian, who assured 
him that all was well, and that he was simply being taken to his 
destination by the nearest way. Two or three days later I met 
him in Moscow in one of the churches, Ustening with rapt atten- 
tion to a very dirty monk extolling in Russian the miraculous 
powers of certain relics. His journal, if he kept one, would have 
been interesting. 

Prince Boris Galitzin, a very smart young officer in the Chevalier- 
Gardes, a famous leader of cotillons in the great houses of St. Peters- 
burg, was going to Moscow with his wife at the same time as myself, 
and so we had agreed to meet and lionize the famous old city to- 
gether. It was of course a great advantage to me, for not only 
had I very pleasant friends, whose company was a joy, but I also 
benefited by certain special permits with which they were armed. 
What treasures we saw ! — gold, silver, precious stones and pearls. 
What holy relics did Boris have to kiss ! — not that he, as an advanced 
Greek, had much faith in them or in their miracles ; his reverence 
for them was something like that of Naaman the Syrian, when he 
prayed that if he should enter the house of Rimmon with his master 
leaning upon his hand, he might be forgiven for bowing himself 
down because it was a question of duty. 

The French in 1812 looted as much as they could, but on their 
approach the treasures and relics were sent off to Novgorod. They 
must, in spite of all precautions, have found a great deal, for the 
wealth of the churches is prodigious. One holy Saint stopped their 
robberies by a miracle. The ruffians were about to rifle his tomb 
when the corpse slowly lifted its hand in warning. They fled, 
terror-stricken at the sign, but the dead hand remained raised, a 
threat for ever against sacrilege. 

It is really no matter of surprise that there should be so few 
buildings of great antiquity, so few ancient historical monuments 
in Russia. It is true that at Kief, the old capital of the Grand 
Princes, Jaroslav built the stone church of St. Sophia in the middle 
of the eleventh century, about the same time as the Conqueror built 
the Tower of London, but it was not until the middle of the seven- 
teenth century that houses of stone began to be the fashion. Till 



Moscow 289 

then the dwellings of rich and poor alike were built of wood upon 
piles, much like the homes of their Scythian forbears, described by 
Herodotus. As a consequence fire had freedom of destruction, 
as it has in many great Oriental cities, where I have seen whole 
quarters burned to ashes in a single night ; and so it was that when 
Ivan, the son of Daniel, established his capital at Moscow in 1330, 
it was no more than a great aggregation of wooden houses, the only 
stone building being the Church of Spas na Bory (the Saviour on 
the Cross), which was said to be of immense antiquity. 

It was not until the end of the fourteenth century that Dmitri 
Donski, the conqueror of the Tartars on the Don, began building the 
famous Kremlin.* By degrees came trade, and merchants from all 
parts of the world, bartering their goods against Muscovite furs, 
cloth, linen and leather, for which Russia had already become 
famous. 

In the middle of the sixteenth century, during the reign of Ivan 
the Terrible, two great fires almost annihilated the city. The first 
broke out in the merchants' quarter and the second burned the 
Tsar's palace to cinders. The infuriated populace laid both these 
fires to the account of the witchcraft of Princess Glinski, the widow 
of a man who had died in prison, after his eyes had been put out 
as a punishment for having rebuked Ivan's mother, Helen, for her 
conduct with her lover, Ortchina. One of the supposed witch's 
sons was murdered with his followers at an altar on which they 
had taken refuge for sanctuary, and the wretched woman herself 
fled for her life with her other son. What an easy matter revenge 
was in the days when men believed in witchcraft ? 

But in spite of fires and Poles and other misfortunes, Moscow 
continued to flourish in ever-increasing beauty, until at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century Peter the Great, in love with the sea and 
with ships, must needs transfer the seat of government to his newly- 
founded seaport, and so gave the death-blow to the political, or 
perhaps it would be more true to say the official, importance of the 
old capital. But there was more than the intoxication of the sea 
in his move. So long as Moscow should remain unrivalled on a 
pinnacle of glory, so long would the old faith and the glamour of 
* A Tartar word signifying " Citadel." 
VOL. I 19 



290 Memories 



old traditions remain as an obstacle to the Germanizing reforms 
which he had at heart. These old feelings — which he knew how to 
turn to profit at his need, while he affected to despise them — ^must 
be swept away. As a stronghold of the Church the Sacred City — 
Moscow and the Patriarchate — ^had even in the most savage days 
stood between the Tsar and his will. Let them perish ! So the 
Court and the Government were gone, and the Patriarchate with 
them. But aU these changes — the plucking of beards literally and 
figuratively from men's chins, the wholesale attack upon all those 
customs which were dearest to the Russian soul — were in one respect 
a failure. The dignity, the sanctity of Moscow remained untouched. 
No spark of its sacred light was extinguished. To every true child 
of Russia Moscow remained the Holy Mother. Witness 1812. 
Napoleon would have met with a less fierce opposition hiad he 
attacked St. Petersburg. That would have been warfare. What 
Peter did was sacrilege. It was a pious Russian, Rostopchin, who 
once more set fire to Moscow lest the sacred city with its stores of 
provisions and necessaries should fall into the hands of the im- 
pious invader. What a difference that fire made to the horrors 
of the terrible retreat ! 

No Russian sees the towers of the holy city in the distance without 
reverently baring his head and crossing himself, and even the guards 
in the railway trains keep a sharp look-out lest they should fail to 
make the prescribed obeisance at the first coming into sight of the 
venerated towers and steeples. The Russian is sensitive, impres- 
sionable and romantic above any people with which I have come 
in contact. The religion, the poetry, the music and the traditions 
of his country are the very essence of his nature, fibres interwoven 
round one centre, which is to him as his own heart, and that centre 
is Moscow. 

There was one man living in Moscow whom I was most anxious 
to see : M. Gerebzoff, the author of " La Civilisation en Russie." 
He was famous as a man of letters, known, moreover, as a typical 
gentleman of the old school, who had never bowed before the altars 
of St. Petersburg, but had remained absolutely faithful to the 
traditions of what he conceived to be the glorious past of his country. 
Prince Galitzin, who knew him, very good-naturedly asked him to 



Moscow 291 

tea one evening to meet me. He came with two or three others — 
men of the same kidney as himself — and we had a most interesting 
talk. He had the appearance of a very old man, though in truth he 
was hardly past middle-age ; but his infirmities added long years 
to his reckoning, and he was nearly stone blind ; physically he was 
weak, but mentally full of activity, enthusiasm and prejudices — 
just as I had imagined him. What added to the interest of his 
conversation was the fact that he had been writing a book on 
England, ftill of admiration for our institutions and methods. But 
Boris Gahtzin knew that I should be eager to hear him talk about his 
own country, so he deftly turned the conversation to the question 
of the capital. 

" St. Petersburg ! " exclaimed M. Gerebzoff, " a mere marsh, 
just fit to harbour frogs and wolves and Finns. You must not 
imagine " — turning to me — " that in St. Petersbmrg you can come to 
any true opinion about Russia," and then he went off at score. 
Even Moscow he would not admit to be the true capital for his 
country. Kief would be the most advantageous metropolis. His 
argument was this. The theory of a capital is that every native 
of the country should look upon it as his. Moscow is to Vladimir 
and Kief what St. Petersbturg is to Moscow — a modern imposition. 
Moscow might be the ofiicial capital, but the native of Little Russia 
would still look upon the ancient Kief as his capital. But if Kief 
were the seat of government, Petersburger, Muscovite, Volhynian, 
Podolian, White Russian, and perhaps even at last Pole, would 
loyally rally rovmd the old mother-city. The spirit of separation 
would be exorcized, and there would be one Russia with one language 
and one mind. This was no new idea of which M. Gerebzoff 
held the patent. Many Russians had professed the same faith, 
especially the violent nationalists. 

At the same time it must be remembered that to an enormous 
majority of their countrymen Moscow is so intimately bound up 
with the great crises of their fatherland, such as the occupation by 
the Poles and their expulsion, and the episode of 1812, and so vene- 
rated as the high altar of their faith, that Kief as a capital, in spite 
of aU its sanctity and its remote antiquity, can never in their 
opinion be more than an academic problem. I have given here a 
VOL. r 19* 



292 Memories 



very brief precis of M. Gerebzoff's talk. But I could wish that 
some of our statesmen who seem to advocate a return to the 
Heptarchy could have heard his eloquent advocacy of a imited 
empire. As to that when I was in Russia there were no two schools, 
no two opinions. 

Of all the strangely quaint buildings in Moscow-r—perhaps of the 
world — the most arresting is the Church of Vassili Blageimii, stand- 
ing at the entrance to the Kremlin ; it was erected by Ivan the 
Terrible in honour of Basil, the crazy monk of Moscow — the only 
man who ever dared to rebuke him — and of the victory which 
wrested Kazan from the Tartars in 1554. Designed by one madman 
at the command of a second and to the glory of a third, it looks as 
if it had been planned in an ecstatic mood by the capricious fantasy 
of King Oberon's court architect. One can picture to oneself his 
craftsmen, gnomes, trolls and Nibelungen, busily at work sawing, 
planing, hammering ; shaping stones, beating out iron and gold and 
silver and copper ; fashioning pinnacles and cupolas and towers 
into weird forms and grotesque combinations ; making up a structure 
unlike anything in Heaven or upon earth, baffling description — 
something to make a man rub his eyes in wonder and ask himself 
whether it can be reality or a dream of ghost-land. Clearly the work 
of a man gay, happy, unrestrained, laughing at all prescribed rule 
and convention. Strange to say, this weird Saracenic conception 
was bom in an ItaUan brain in the days of the Rinascimento ! 

When it was finished, and men lifted their hands in wonder, the 
artist in his folly bragged that this was not to be taken as the 
measure of his powers, or as having dried up the wellspring of his 
imagination ; he could do better yet. An imwise boast which cost 
him dear ; for lest the eccentricities and beauties that he had fathered 
should ever, as he threatened, be beaten, the Terrible Tsar promptly 
caused the poor Italian's eyes to be put out. Who can account for 
the wild whims of fancy ? Why should the thought of the savage 
beauty and fateful sadness of this sacred building bring back to 
my mind without rhyme or reason the memory of a beautiful mad 
girl who used to wander singing and dancing in the craziest gyra- 
tions through the streets of a little country town in France which 
I knew as a youngster ? The thing would be impossible in these 



Moscow 293 

days. She was very lovely, but in her loveliness, which had been 
so cruel to her, there was something weird, something remote and 
mystic and tragic, that seemed to belong to another sphere. 

The fascination of this wonder-church must be of the same 
order. Brilliant beauty, the sad gaiety of madness, the cloud of 
a cruel tragedy — these make up its story. Memory is like a lute 
strung with all manner of strange chords. The Church of St. 
Vassili touched one of them. 

The Kremlin is the diadem of the river Moskva as Windsor Castle 
is the diadem of the Thames. It has its psychological moment, 
Uke " fair Melrose." For the one it is the " pale moonlight," for 
the other if you would " see it aright," crossing the river, you must 
go to the Sparrows' Hill at sunset, and stand where Napoleon stood, 
waiting in vain for the keys of the gates of the citadel to be brought 
to him ; and if you have the luck that I had, to hit upon a glorious 
setting sun, you will have a sight that will remain with you till 
your dying day. 

No skill of painter could convey the faintest idea of its strange 
beauty, varying as it does from minute to minute ; bathed in a 
flood of golden sunshine, the flame-coloured walls and towers and 
grotesquely-shaped steeples and belfries of the Kremlin are a blaze 
of burnished metal, like the crown of some huge Gargantuan hero ; 
then, as the sun lowers on the horizon, they begin, like the dying 
dolphins of fable, to flash out chameleon tints of all the colours of 
the rainbow ; gradually the rosy pink steals over them, just as it 
does over the snowy points of the high Alps, fading into the cold 
violet — not the darkness — of a night almost as luminous as day, 
against which the sharp lines stand out with a severity altogether 
foreign to their fantastic beauty. The chill serenity of a nightless 
night gives a new aspect to the barbaric splendour of the mighty 
citadel. For the moment the stilly peace casts a holy spell even 
over the memory of Ivan the Terrible. 

Only for the moment ; for the devilish spirit of the Tsar seems to 
haimt all Moscow. Wherever you may go, you are reminded of 
him and of his horrors. You are taken to see the Romanoff House, 
the home of Mikhail Feodorovitch, the founder of the present 
dynasty, a perfect specimen of a great Boyarin's house at the 



294 Memories 



beginning of the seventeenth century, instinct with the spirit of the 
Orient ; low, vaulted rooms, the ceilings and walls covered with 
frescoes and arabesques of curious designs. The doors are very low, 
for cunning old Nikita Romanoff, grandfather of the first Tsar of 
his race, was determined that those who entered his house or his 
presence should do proper obeisance ; even the lady of the party, 
not a tall woman, had to bend nearly double as she crept in. 
Everything is kept in religious order : all the furniture, down to 
the very toys with which the future Tsar used to play. One hardly 
expected to see a relic of Ivan here. Yet even in this Romanoff 
family shrine is preserved his staff, an ingeniously cruel weapon, 
the top fashioned as a huge bird, with which in playful moods he 
would fell an unfortunate courtier or two, and the ferrule a sharpened 
point of iron, with which, leaning upon it with all his weight, he 
would pierce the foot of some wretch whom he called up for a close 
and familiar conversation, pinning him to the floor. Strange 
caresses ! The barbarities to which great nobles and courtiers were 
submitted pass all belief. There is a little tower in the Kremlin 
from which Ivan would look down upon the great square below and 
feast his eyes upon the tortures of his victims, tortures ordered by 
himself and in which he would sometimes lend a hand. The 
treacheries of some of his towns — Novgorod, Volkof, Pleskof, 
Tver and Moscow itself, accused of intriguing with the Poles — gave 
him a fine opportunity for indulging in his favourite pastimes. 

As for the guilty traitors of Novgorod, they were driven into a 
huge inclosed pen, and Ivan, with his eldest son, rode in and 
speared them like wild boars till they were tired of the sport ! 
And yet, in spite of all that is true in these stories, and perhaps 
of much more that is legendary, he does not seem to have left an 
unpopiilar memory behind him — ^indeed, I have heard Russians 
speak kindly and almost affectionately of this fiend as a sort of 
jovial viveur rather than as a tjnrant to be execrated. As for Peter 
the Great, he frankly admired him and, making allowance for the 
difference in centuries, imitated him ; no doubt he would have 
gone further had he dared^ but times had changed, and there was 
a limit even to his audacity. 

There is a new dynasty and a new capital, but the memory of 



Moscow 295 



Ivan the Fourth is yet green and, strange to say, it is not hideous. 
There was, no doubt, a certain picturesqueness about him, as there 
was about our own Henry the Eighth, who dealt out death with 
no niggard hand, and who still, in story and legend, lives as a sort 
of hero. A strong man of arms always awakens a certain ad- 
miration, and no doubt it was a fine sight for the citizens of Moscow 
to see the fierce Tsar ride out bare-headed through the Saviour's 
Gates at the head of his splendidly caparisoned strelzi and 
spritchniki (archers and bodyguard). Tailors and saddlers and 
armourers are rare makers of fame. 

With what wise judgment and loving care the Russians preserve 
their old monuments ! Where any restoration is needed it is 
carried out with such discreet skill that it is almost impossible to 
detect the new from the old, and so the approach to the Kremlin 
through the Spasskia Vorotui (the Saviour's Gates), with their 
beautiful tower, leads to a succession of pictures which are not 
fragments of the old world clumsily pieced together, but the 
sixteenth century itself, whole, sound and without a blemish. 
Bare your head as you go through these mystic gates, for even the 
Emperor of aU the Russias dare not pass them covered. Inside 
the court of the Palace of the Tsars stands the ancient Church of 
the Saviour on the Cross, and here were gathered quite a little crowd 
of pilgrims — ^for this is a very holy place — listening with intense 
devoutness to the words of one of their number, who, with all the 
fervour of an ancient Hebrew prophet, was telling, in language 
so picturesque that it seemed almost inspired, the story of a 
miracle which had befallen him on his travels. 

As he was tramping, weary and footsore, from some distant 
province to worship at the shrines of Moscow, the Blessed Virgin 
appeared to him on the road, and bidding him to be of good cheer, 
encouraged him to march on to the end of his pious journey. What 
was hunger, what was fatigue in comparison with the holy joy 
which awaited him ? One envies the simple, unreasoning faith 
of these humble folk ; it would be still more enviable if it possessed 
a stronger moral influence upon character ; but, alas ! I have 
already shown how much too often it comes to a dead halt in the 
realm of superstition. A little^while later in the afternoon I saw 



296 Memories 



a pious pilgrim — pious he must have been, or he would not have 
faced the hardships and cost of the journey — staggering dead 
drunk on his return from the shrines ; but even so he did not forget 
to remove his cap as he passed through the sacred Gates of the 
Saviour. Explain it who will, the mujik honestly and reverently 
offers himself body and soul to his God, and yet it never occurs 
to him that he is defiling and degrading the gift. Fancy a man 
dragging through the mud a rose which he is to lay at the feet of 
his beloved ! 

" Tchto vam ugodno ? Tchto vam ugodno ? " (" What d'ye 
lack? What d'ye lack? "). The very cry of the madcap city 
'prentices in the " Fortunes of Nigel." What a picture Sir Walter 
Scott would have painted of the Gastinnii Dvor (the Strangers' 
Bazaar) ! Such a collection of wares of all sorts, from a worn-out 
hearth-brush of which the last bristle has long since departed, to 
a diamond brooch which, perhaps, a few nights before was ghtter- 
ing on some fair lady's breast ; from the dirty, worn-out kaftan of 
a nrnjik to a ball-dress of silk and satin. Such bargainings, such 
fights for the last odd kopeck. And then the cajoleries of these 
Muscovite hucksters ! There is something truly touching in being 
appealed to ,as " Golubtchik " (" My little dove ") in the hope of 
softening the hardness of one's heart. 

Altogether a wonderful place, in which were to be found all manner 
of commodities, some good, some bad, some mere trash, with here 
and there a really valuable thing, probably stolen, of the worth of 
which the dealer is profoundly ignorant, and which he will sell 
for a song. In one tray you may see a whole jumble of odds and 
ends — ^keys without locks, locks without keys, brass-headed nails, 
knife handles, glass beads — and with them, perhaps, an old enamel, 
a rare coin, a costly jewel, rather astonished to find themselves in 
such out-at-elbows company. As a rule the meaner the rubbish, 
the shabbier the article, the longer the battle over the pence. 

If the " little dove " is firm he may often fly away with some 
really precious bargain. That, of course, is a rare chance, but at 
any rate he will have had a good deal of fun for his money, and a 
sight of trade in one of its most picturesque shapes. Petticoat 
Lane is clean by comparison, but an artist would find more to draw 



Moscow 297 

here. There are plentiful opportunities for the etching-needle of 
a Rembrandt, for the brush of a Hogarth. 

However fascinating may be the street scenes in this kaleido- 
scope of a city, there comes a moment when one must eat. Prince 
Galitzin had ordered luncheon at the Loskutnii Traktir (the 
Rubbish-shop Restaurant), in spite of its name a very famous 
eating-house (the name, by the bye, was well in tune with the 
market which I have just described) and the perfection of luxury. 

The waiters were models ; they were dressed from head to foot 
in spotless white linen, changed twice a day. The shirt was worn 
Russian fashion, outside the trousers and bound in at the waist 
by a girdle. They themselves were as clean as soap and hot water 
and steam baths could make them ; so spick and span and so 
welcoming that it was a pleasure to be served by them. They most 
persuasively pressed each dish upon us, and seemed quite hurt 
if our appetites could not be of a size with our eyes and their wishes. 

The fare was excellent. A zakuska of raw salted salmon and the 
greyest of caviare — such caviare as you cannot procure even at St. 
Petersburg, for it loses quality with every hour's journey from the 
Volga — a baby radish or two and a glass of liqueur — that much 
for an aperitif ; then the serious business of luncheon. First 
little patties of fish, jelly and eggs, chopped very fine, served with 
water in which the fish had been boiled for a sauce ; then a stew of 
sturgeon, crayfish, olives, cucimibers and red toadstools, quite 
delicious ; and for the last a very fine sterlet d la Russe, as dainty 
a dish as could be laid before a king. Our drink was lompopo, 
a cup made of beer, lemon, spices and a huge toast of black bread, 
burned almost to charcoal, lying at the bottom of the tankard. 
A glass of Chateau Yquem and a cup of the finest yellow tea (caravan 
tea) to top up with. That was an excellent luncheon, and 
moreover, honestly Muscovite, quite in the picture. 

Rested and refreshed, we betook ourselves once more to the 
Kremlin, to feast our eyes upon all those marvels which have 
been so well catalogued by Murray and by Baedeker that the mere 
wanderer may look without feeling compelled to undergo the 
torments of description. One thing struck me. Of Napoleon 
there are many memories, none more significant none more 



298 Memories 



poignant, here or elsewhere than the placing by the Emperor 
Nicholas of the statue of the beaten Emperor opposite to that of 
his conqueror, Alexander the First. 

Gladly would I have spent many days in the old city — days, 
aye, and weeks — for it has a singular fascination ; moreover, I 
would have given much to have had some dealings with its society, 
a society, by all accounts, quite different from that of Peter's 
capital, which, charming, kindly and hospitable as it is, must always 
be, from its official position, more or less cosmopolitan. Moscow, 
on the other hand, is, or was at that time, an atmosphere — abso- 
lutely itself, untinged by any modern desecration of conventional 
foreign manners and customs. 

I know not whether it be so still, but in the days of which I am 
writing one felt that one was seeing the Russian boyarin in his 
own home, just as in Scotland sixty years ago, before the invasion 
of Americans and stockbrokers, it was a joy to visit a Highland 
chieftain in his unimproved ancestral castle. There, again, was 
an atmosphere. But my stay in Moscow — indeed, in Russia — 
was drawing to a close ; the hours of one of the holidays of my 
life were numbered ; but before going back to the workaday world 
I, too, must make a pilgrimage. Should I take scrip and staff 
and bottle, sew cockle-shells on my coat — ^which would be very 
un-Russian — and start off on my sandalled feet ? The train 
leaving Moscow at 6.30 a.m. would be better ; commonplace 
and modern, but convenient. 

One of the greatest of Russia's saints, held in repute higher 
than most, is St. Sergius. Many are the wonders and miracles 
that are recorded of him. Before he was born, when his mother 
received the sacrament his shouts of joy could be heard all over 
the church. At his birth he could recite the Ten Commandments 
and the Lord's Prayer by heart. As wise as he was pious, in the 
early part of the fourteenth century, he drew to himself a great 
following, and was even an adviser of the famous Dmitri of the 
Don, whose victory over the Tartars in the expedition undertaken 
by his advice he announced to his monks on the day and at the 
hour of its occurrence. It was in the year 1330 that he founded his 



Moscow ^ 299 

great monastery, the Troitzkaia Lavra (the Monastery of the 
Trinity), about forty miles from Moscow, and when, to the sorrow 
of all men, he died and was canonized, his own name was added 
to that of his foundation, it became known as the Troitzkaia 
Sergiefskaia Lavra, and the fame of St. Sergius was established 
for all time. 

The Monks of the Trinity played a great and a noble part in the 
history of their country, especially during the Polish war at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century. Frocked heroes they were, 
against whom all the craft, the valour and the money of their 
enemies were of no avail. The siege had to be raised ; and when 
after three years the Russians rose against the Poles, who were in 
possession of Moscow, after a time of tribulation and misery untold, 
the monks joined the forces of Minin and Pojarski, and even sold 
their treasures to help in driving the hated Pole from Russian soil. 
Once more they were in vain besieged in 1615, and it was under 
the impregnable walls of the convent which had done such loyal 
service to Russia that the treaty of peace with Poland was signed. 
The designs of the Poles had been religious as well as political ; 
had they prevailed, Russia would have fallen under the spiritual 
dominion of the Pope. So the monks were warring for very 
existence, and they fought stubbornly. 

Even Peter the Great, a scoffer by profession, expressed, and 
no doubt felt, a sincere veneration for St. Sergius. It was a picture 
of the Saint which was carried with him as his standard in all his 
battles, and sooth to say, Peter owed no small debt of gratitude to 
the brave monks. His early years were not very rosy. He was 
but ten years old when his eldest brother, Feodor, died childless, 
leaving the succession to Peter, to the prejudice of a witling elder 
brother, Ivan. Their sister Sophia made this the pretext for a 
revolution to which she excited the strelzi (literally "archers"), a 
sort of irregular soldiery, and with their help assumed the regency. 
In 1789 he felt himself strong enough to call upon her to resign. 

The whole story forms an interesting episode in the history of 
the country, but there is no space to tell it here ; I only allude to 
it because it was in this monastery that Peter and his poor weak 
brother Ivan found a refuge until, the strelzi turning round upon 



300 Memories 



Sophia, Peter assumed the government and she was sent into a 
convent, where she might again weave plots to her heart's content. 
So it was gratitude that prompted his reverence for the Saint and 
his monks, and as I imagine they gained no small amount of prestige 
from his support. However that may be, great is the fame of 
the place. It was a festival of the church, and though the train 
was pretty full at starting, we picked up many worshippers at 
intermediate stations, till we were quite a crowd. 

The Lavra stands upon a hill, and with its picturesque towers 
and spires rising above its venerable battlemented walls, looks 
like an ancient feudal city, of which the suburbs are formed by the 
tea-houses, grog-shops and booths for the sale of toys and sacred 
images clustered round its base. Here the faithful congregate 
after worshipping at the shrines, and a thriving trade is done in 
refreshments, chiefly liquid and strong above proof, and it must 
be a poor pilgrim indeed who does not carry back with him a toy 
or two as fairings for the children, or an ikona for the good wife. 

There were several hundreds of men and women toihng wearily 
up the hill at the same time as ourselves. The women were in 
travelling outfit, their faces bound round with kerchiefs, only the 
nose and eyes showing, their short skirts reaching just below the 
knee, and both men and women had their legs thickly swathed 
round with linen bands, tied together with pieces of string, and 
their feet encased in shapeless shoes contrived out of coarse matting. 
The better-to-do pilgrims carried knapsacks, while their less 
fortunate fellows had but their staves, with, at most, a small wallet, 
trusting to chance and charity for a meal or a night's lodging. 
It was a mixed crowd, for besides these humbler folk there were 
prosperous farmers and tradesmen, whose telegas and carts were 
standing outside the gates, making the space look like the halting- 
place of a vast caravan. Plutocrats and grandees were not want- 
ing, and the numberless beggars and cripples of whom we had to 
run the gauntlet gathered a rich harvest of coppers and small 
silver coins. 

We entered the gates at the same moment as an old grey-beard, 
tottering on his staff, wan and weary, worn out with the long 
journey on foot from a distant part of Russia, so feeble that nothing 



Moscow 301 



but the intoxication of fanaticism could have carried him on to 
its end. Inside the gates were more beggars, but these were 
apparently collectors for the monastery, for I noticed that a 
reverend brother was going his rounds among them, peering into 
the contents of the little tin plates to see that there should be no 
alienation of alms for private purposes. I felt rather indignant 
at this, but it occurred to me afterwards that the idea might be 
simply to pool all the receipts, that the fraternity of beggars might 
all share and share alike. 

Swiftly a serving brother laid hold of us ; he was half, if not 
wholly, an idiot, and having an impediment in his speech, promised 
to be very troublesome; but a jolly little monk coming up de- 
livered us from our tormentor and sent him about his business. 
He invited us into his cell and offered to act as our cicerone. His 
humble home was tiny and neat and scrupulously clean — one 
might have eaten off the floor. In one comer before the ikona 
(sacred image), a little lamp was burning. His furniture con- 
sisted of a white sofa-bed, two chairs and a cupboard. The little 
window, on the sUl of which he had the luxury of a sweet-scented 
verbena and a pot of mignonette — one of those touches of poetry 
which make the whole world akin — looked out upon a very pretty 
view of the monastery garden fringed by the woods beyond. 

The dear little man made us very welcome, and gave us each a 
rude print of St. Sergius as a remembrance of the monk Vaccian 
and of the Troitzkaia Lavra. He made me write down his name 
in my pocket-book, and then I must write mine for him. To my 
amazement, for I had written it in the Russian character, he had 
to spell it painfully, letter by letter. Print he could read fairly 
well, and of course the old Slavonic script of the liturgies. But 
writing, and the reading of the written character, were beyond 
his capabilities. Indeed, during the seven hours that I spent 
with him and his brethren, I was continually being struck by the 
proofs of the most crass and darkest ignorance. Beyond the 
four walls of their convent they knew nothing, absolutely nothing. 
One of them asked me whether England was not supplied with 
gold by Russia. When I alluded to California and Australia, 
they had never heard of either. They knew that there was a 



302 'Memories 



place called America, and another quite unimportant place called 
India, but what they were, to whom they belonged, or by whom 
they were peopled — that was a blank. 

One's ideas of the monasteries of the olden time were of sacred 
institutions where in an age of ignorance the holy fire of learning 
was kept alight ; here, and apparently in similar places, were 
castles of indolence, refuges to which men might fly from the 
cares and duties of mankind, contented to be supplied with the 
barest necessaries of life at the public expense, adding thereto 
a few scanty comforts by the kindness of some passing strsmger. 

Every monk received at the refectory one meal a day, consist- 
ing of vegetable soup, fish, bread, vegetables and kvass. If they 
ate anything else in the day it must be at their own expense. They 
were allowed twenty roubles (£3 at that time) a year out of which 
they must clothe themselves. Some had a little something of 
their own wherewith to eke out this pittance ; others managed 
to pick up a trifle now and again as guides to visitors ; others had 
nothing. There were in all three hundred and fifty brethren. 
The admission to the order was simple enough ; any man was 
eligible if only he could show that he had a vocation. The monks 
had free egress and ingress, and might even obtain a week's leave 
of absence from the Archimandrite. A curious, unproductive 
life. Such talents as there might be were hidden in napkins ! 

Of course we visited all the churches and shrines ; but what 
interested me most were the pilgrims. It was impossible not to 
be touched by the very real fervour of their piety. To see the 
tears streaming down the cheeks of great bearded men when they 
kissed the face of Saint Sergius, covered only by a cloth of red 
velvet and gold, made me feel ashamed of my stiff-necked apathy. 
The worshippers moved me, the worshipped did not. 

Had the French only known what was immediately under their 
hand in 1812, what prizes they might have carried off ! The 
reliquaries and vestments, the bushels upon bushels of precious 
stones and pearls. The treasury of the monastery must represent 
a fabulous wealth in the offerings of Emperors and Empresses, 
Princes and Princesses, and rich folk of lesser degree. 

One jewel was, if not a miracle, as it is reputed to be, at any 



Moscow 3°3 

rate a world's wonder. Picture to yourself an agate medallion 
mounted in huge diamonds, the staining of the agate representing 
the figure of a monk kneeling in worship before the crucifix. Even 
the eyes of the monk visible, two little white specks in the black- 
ness of the stone. I held this wonder in my hand and examined 
it as closely as I cotild ; but in vain did I try to discover any trace 
of possible fraud. I have seen and read of many freaks of nature ; 
none of its kind, I think, so strange as this. 

There was much to be seen in the Lavra — the refectory of the 
monks, their carefully-tended garden, and above all the grand 
old battlements, twenty-one feet broad, from which we could 
look down on the surrounding country and see the advancing 
hordes of Poles, hear the war cries of assailants and besieged, 
listen to the din of battle and to the triumphant hymns of the 
cowled warriors giving glory to God for the victory. 

But we had more ground to cover, so after a visit to a neigh- 
bouring traktir, where brother Vaccian made himself exceedingly 
comfortable, we drove off with him to a most curious hermitage, 
or perhaps I should rather say monastery, about four versts off 
— religion in its most repellent shape. The church and cells are 
underground, so we bought tapers to light us down the dark, slimy 
steps. How can men inhabit such dens ? How can men think 
that in so doing they are pleasing the God who has given them 
the pure air and the canopy of heaven. To me it seemed a sacri- 
lege. I went into one of the empty cells and meaisured it — nine 
feet by six ; only in the centre was the vaulted roof high enough 
for me to stand with my hat on. All the furniture a stove, a 
pallet and an ikona ; the only ornament a black cross painted on 
the roof. The water was literally streaming down the walls. 

In such a den as this fanatics will live for years withojit the 
light of day and without air ; their only communication with the 
outer world is by means of the serving brother who brings their 
food and cleans (save the mark !) their cells. Their days are 
peissed in contemplation, and in reading the lives of the saints 
by the dim light of a taper. The liturgies of the Church they 
only hear through a tiny window, like the lepers' squints in our 
own coimtry, which during Mass is thrown open to the church 



304 Memories 



that the cells surround. I asked if these holy men received visitors, 
as I should have liked to have had some talk with them, but I 
was told that they only received the Emperor, the Empress and 
the Metropolitan. If they must have company, apparently it 
has to be of the very best. 

How sweet the pine woods smelt in the soft, delicious air of 
spring after these noisome holes at which a well-conditioned toad 
would turn up his nose ! There was more to be done yet, for the 
place seemed to be a perfect colony of Holiness. At a little dis- 
tance there dwelt an old monk, who after ten years spent in one 
of those hideous cells (ten years ! it makes one shudder to think 
of it !) had reached such a piimacle of piety that he was now 
accredited by the wondering mujiks with the power of performing 
miracles. He was not a very old man, as we were told, but so 
broken down with infirmity, bred rather of privations than of 
years, that he could hardly raise himself on his couch to receive 
us. Strikingly handsome, and of rare distinction, with long 
grizzly hair and beard, he was the ideal of St. Jerome. He was 
not unwilling to talk; but his mind was wandering, his speech 
incoherent, and he seemed relieved when I bade him farewell. 

I was afraid that if I offered any little gift to so saintly a person- 
age he would be affronted, so on leaving I put a trifle in the hand 
of the attendant who kept the pretty little cottage. He begged 
me to go back and lay it on the hermit's table. He was Ijnng 
back apparently exhausted, but at the sight of the silver he revived, 
and gave every sign of pleasure and gratitude. 

Close by is one of those austere monasteries into which no female 
may enter ; but we had seen enough, so we drove back to the 
Lavra, there to await the train which should carry us back to 
Moscow. By this time a good many of the pilgrims who were 
merrymaking among the booths outside the walls were very drunk 
indeed. They had washed down their piety with vodka, and 
when the effects of that should have passed off, would be ready 
once more to face the world, the flesh, and the devil, with that 
added reputation for holiness which is the privilege of the Hadji 
in every land. 

It had been a full and an interesting day, to the pleasure of which 



Moscow 305 



our good little monk Vaccian had contributed not a little; but 
I could have wished that when I said good-bye, leaving with him 
the wherewithal to buy a few little comforts, he had not in the 
profusion of his gratitude insisted on kissing as well as blessing 
me, for indeed his person was not kept with the same scrupulous 
cleanliness as his cell. The blessing was good ; the kissing less so ; 
but it had to be endured, so I tried not to make a wry face over it. 
The next day was the last of my delightful stay at Moscow. 
Dreamily I wandered alone through the streets, a purposeless 
vagabond, and rather mournful, for I would fain have remained 
much longer. I carefully eschewed sightseeing, for I was anxious 
to fix on my mind what I had already seen, and that could best 
be achieved by gathering a general impression of the peculiar 
features of the city. 

On the 24th of May I reached St. Petersburg and almost imme- 
diately left for London. I brought away with me a store of happy 
memories, especially the cherished remembrance of Lord and 
Lady Napier. Of Russia I felt as if I must take my leave, full of 
gratitude for boundless hospitality and kindness, in her own 
pretty formula " Forgive ! " 

Many years after the betrayal of Denmark, when I was Secre- 
tary of the Office of Works, I was once more, to my great delight, 
associated officially with my old chief. Mr. Nelson, the famous 
Edinburgh publisher, had very generously offered to pay the cost 
of certain improvements and restorations at Edinburgh Castle. 
Lord Napier and I were appointed members of a committee to 
consider the plans and proposals. One fine afternoon, after the 
meeting of the committee, we were walking down the hill together, 
when we began talking of the old St. Petersburg days. He was 
full of fim and merriment, laughing over the old memories. At 
last I said : ' 

" Do you remember that dismal night m February, 1864, when 
you sent for me to decipher the telegram that decided the fate of 
Denmark ? " 

" Yes, indeed," was the answer. 

" And do you remember your journey to Tsarskoe Selo the next 
morning and what Prince Gortchakoff said to you." 

vol. i 20 



3o6 Memories 



" No," said Lord Napier, " I don't remember that," with a 
strong emphasis on the that — but there came into his eyes the old 
merry twinkle that I loved to see. He would not give away Lord 
Russell, whom he loved, even to me who knew the whole story, 
but the laughter in his tell-tale eyes spoke volumes. Nobody 
suffered more than Lord Napier occasionally did from the diplo- 
matic vagaries of his old chief. But I think that he looked upon 
him as a sort of superlunary political saint, not to be measured 
by the standards applicable to the ordinary commonplace Secre- 
tary of State. 

On my way home I stopped at Berlin, which was in a fever of 
excitement and self-glorification. Two of the most formidable 
military Powers of Europe, having joined forces, had succeeded 
in crushing little Denmark. Prussia was triumphant, the Mark 
beside itself with martial elation. Trophies of war were stacked 
in public places, poor little old-fashioned smooth-bore cannons, 
not much better than toys, which had been all that the brave 
Danes had had for the defence of their Daimewerke. The officers, 
" unscarred braggarts," who had fought (save the word !) in this 
noble warfare each wore a white silk band round the sleeve of 
his timic, rattling his sabre with all the conscious pride of heroism, 
while the fair-haired maidens fell down in worship before the 
majesty of the War God. Surely since the world began there 
never was so much cry over such a paltry ploc of wool. But your 
Prussian Junker can outboast creation ! 

Two more days, and then back to the Foreign Office. 



CHAPTER XIV 
1864 

THE FIRST CALL OF THE EAST 

THE year 1864 is sacred to me in that, although it called me 
away from St. Petersburg, where I was so happy, it also 
called me to my first taste — a mere glimpse — of that East which, 
old man as I am, still casts its spell over me. When the time came 
for my hohday — not till October — I had six weeks before me which 
I could call my own. It happened that at that moment a messenger 
was wanted for Constantinople ; I saw my chance and volunteered. 
Vienna first, then down the Danube to the Black Sea. Mr. (after- 
wards Sir Arthur) Cowell Stepney was my companion. A wonderful 
journey, where language and costume carry the traveller back to 
the days of Trajan, and the very names of the places are full of 
romance. " Unde es, amice ? " asks a Wallach, recognizing a 
friend — and invites him to sit at the same " mensa " (not " tavola " 
or " table ") with him, and rates the waiter because the cloth is not 
as "albo" (not " blanc " or "bianco") as it should be. The 
peasants, shaggy, bearded and untrimmed, were dressed in tunics, 
fur caps, leggings and sandals, exactly like the prisoners on Trajan's 
arch. Fifty years ago the Latinity had been preserved in far 
greater purity in Wallachia than in the true Latin countries, and 
poverty of communication had prevented the demon of fashion 
from destroying the old picturesque national costume. 

A troglodyte colony of Circassians at Czernavoda, burrowing 

in the earth like rabbits, a colony of Tartars herded in a loathsome 

mud town, the gift of the Sultan to the Crim Tartars, seemed like 

creatures from another hemisphere. Here we had some trouble 

VOL. I 307 20* 



308 Memories 



with certain tatterdemalion nondescripts who represented the 
Turkish authorities. They wanted to open my Foreign Office bags. 
I rebelled ; but knowing no Turkish, and they being equally igno- 
rant of any other language, the case seemed hopeless, when all of 
a sudden I remembered Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. Kinglake 
fiomished me with the word of salvation. " Eltchi, Eltchi ! " I 
shouted, " touch my bags if you dare, you infernal scoundrels ! " 
The last words, except as ornaments, were pleonastic as abuse 
generally is. " Sesame " itself had not more magic than the first. 
My canvas bags became an object of veneration — the great seal 
as sacred as that of King Solomon in the days of his glory. 

At Kustendji we took ship, and after a stormy passage in that 
cruel sea the name of which had to be changed in order to propi- 
tiate its evil demons, made our way, like Jason and his Argonauts, 
through the Kuaneai Symplegades, the dark, floating rocks between 
which the very dove that they sent out as pioneer lost her tail, and 
found ourselves in the Bosphorus, the identiced bull's ferry across 
which that wicked old god Zeus carried the lovely Europa. We were 
now in the midst of the scenes made famous by Homer and Hesiod ; 
the home of gods and heroes, the land in which all the poetry and 
all the romance of the Western world was bom. 

Beautiful is Constantinople, the great city of palaces, mosques, 
minarets and cypresses ; but how much more beautiful must that 
paradise have been under the dispensation of Olympus, before the 
unspeakable Turk, and the hardly more speakable Christian of those 
parts, had made it the centre of their ignoble tussles, intrigues, 
cruelties, robberies and mvurders ! 

The day had not long broken when on a dismal morning — October 
4th — ^we escaped from a polychrome and polyglot crowd which 
besieged our ship, and following our luggage borne by sturdy Hamals, 
made our way through mud and slosh up the Grande Rue de Pera 
to Misseri's Hotel. There was a magic in the name, for had not 
old Misseri been made famous by Kinglake ? Was he not, longo 
intervallo, the second hero of that immortal book " Eothen ? " 
And was he not himself grown rich and fat and well-liking, a Pasha 
of many tales, and all of them in honour of his old master, whom he 
loved, and whom I was only to know many years later ? 



The First Call of the East 309 

When I had ridden to Therapia and deposited my bags at the 
British Embassy, where Mr. WiUiam Stuart was then the Ambassa- 
dor's vicegerent, I went back to Constantinople. Stuart was an 
excellent official, famous for having penetrated all those arcana 
of cookery in which Brillat Savarin himself was not a greater adept. 
It is a study well worth the attention of diplomatists, for who can 
say what difficulties an excellent dinner has not smoothed over ? 
And here let me, in passing, pay a tribute to my greatest living 
friend among British Ambassadors, the prince of modern diploma- 
tists and experts in dining as a fine art. But I will say no more, 
lest I should be suspected of fishing for an invitation — if only a sea 
which I am never likely again to cross did not lie between him and 
me that might be possible ; as it is, I can meet accusation with 
firmness. 

Of course we went to see all the sights of Stamboul — non ragionam 
di lor. What delighted me far more than the mosques, the dancing 
and howling dervishes, the tombs of magnificent Sultans, and all 
the stock-in-trade of the dragoman, was wandering through by- 
ways in the city, happening upon out-of-the-way, unsuspected, 
picturesque nooks and comers — above all, certain old graveyards, 
with their quaint turbaned memorial stones, over which the tall, 
solemn cypresses mount reverent guard — warders watching over 
the peace of the dead Moslem. There was one such cemetery hard 
by a tiny mosque, on one side of which the jealously latticed window 
of a harem looked out, and I could picture to myself Amina the 
ghoul, stealing out of her prison in the dark hours of the night to 
practise her unholy rites among the mouldering dead. There were 
still places in Constantinople where, far from the madding crowd of 
frock-coated modernity, the glamour of the East retained its 
power. 

One sight I am glad to have seen, and that was on Friday, the 
7th of October, the Sultan Abdul Aziz going to the mosque. There 
was a great crowd of carriages full of ladies, and all the principal 
ministers and officers of State. The Sultaji looked tired and in- 
tensely bored, as well he might, for already his extravagances had 
brought upon him ceaseless remonstrances from the other Powers. 
He began his reign well, industriously paving the road to Hell, 



310 Memories 



but his paving-stones, excellent as they seemed to be, soon crumbled 
into dust. He became inoculated with the barbarous lust of 
military splendour and all those whims and appetites to which 
Sultans have fallen victims to the undoing of themselves and their 
people. 

The sorry end came twelve years later (in 1876). How it 
came about remains a mystery of the women's quarters. It was 
said at the time that a nip from a pair of sharp scissors opened a 
vein and the wretched man bled to death in the privacy of his own 
harem. Who did the deed none knew. Was it suicide ? Was it 
a bribed eunuch ? Was it one of the ladies ? That is immaterial ; 
his death was needed, and he died. 

Three notable men were among the high officials in waiting : 
Aali Pasha, who was said to be greatly under the influence of 
M. de Moustiers, the French Ambassador ; Omar Pasha, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Turkish army in the Crimea in 1855 ; and 
Fuad Pasha, who had been Lord Dufferin's colleague on the com- 
mission which investigaged the anti-Christian uprising in the 
Lebanon in i860. I was glad to see him, for I had heard so much 
of him from Meade, who accompcinied Lord Dufferin as secretary. 
That was Lord Dufferin's first inlportant mission ; and very well 
he managed it. 

When he first took his seat with the colleagues, his extremely 
youthful appearance made them think that they would be able to 
do what they pleased with him ; they were mistaken ; by the third 
sitting his cleverness and tact, combined with the most exquisite 
manners and firmness, had made him master of the situation, and his 
fame as a diplomatist was secured. 

Fuad Pasha, like my old friend Khalil Pasha at St. Petersburg, 
was noted as a wit. A short time before I saw him he gave a 
ball to which the members of the Corps Diplomatique and their 
wives were invited. At a certain moment it was arranged that 
the ladies should go and pay a visit to Madame Fuad in the harem. 
A pert French charge d'affaires said that he should manage to 
smuggle himself inside the mystic doors. Fired with this ambi- 
tion, at the given time he offered his arm to one of the ladies and 
tried to slip in with her. Fuad Pasha, who was standing by 



The First Call of the East 311 

stopped him, saying very quietly, " Pardon, mon cher, vous savez 
que vous n'gtes accredi^e qu'auprds de la Porte." 

But after all, Constantinople, with its vaunted charms — charms 
so much vaunted that they have become almost famihar — ^was not 
the goal of our ambition. Our aim was to see something of Asia 
Minor and, above all, to explore the Trojan Plain. The difficulty 
was, how to get there ? At last we heard of a Russian steamer, 
the Grand Duke Constantine, plying between Odessa and Alexandria 
— a craft as capricious as a fine lady. First she would, and then she 
wouldn't, take us, and finally, " saying ' no,' consented." But not 
for two days would she make up her mind to start. At last, on the 
12th of October, we steamed away from the Golden Horn, leaving 
behind us the domes and minarets of Stamboul bathed in all the 
glory of a sunset that would have made Turner wild with delight, 
and which sent a whole shipload of Russian pilgrims bound for 
the Holy Land to their knees, piously crossing themselves at the 
last sight of St. Sophia, always a sacred shrine to the orthodox, 
in spite of having been for centuries defiled by the rites of Islam. 

On the following morning we landed at the Dardanelles. The 
Consul was most kind, and helped us in every way. The trouble was 
that there were no horses to be had, so we spent a wet, stormy day 
in visiting the civil and military governors. The former was a 
dehghtful, fat old gentleman, brother-in-law to Fuad Pasha, with a 
very merry twinkle in his eye, almost as entertaining as Kinglake's 
immortal Pasha, whose conversation is recorded in " Eothen." 
He spoke much about the Prince of Wales, and declared that the 
Princess was " a gift of cream and honey specially sent by Allah 
for the good of the English people." Those were the sentiments 
of the man of peace. 

The man of war was not less emphatic over the pipes and coffee. 
He professed great admiration for Lord Palmerston, Lord Stratford 
de Redcliffe, and the bagpipes. If ever England should be in trouble 
Turkey would come to the rescue, with four hundred thousand men, 
and he would be the man to lead them. But alas ! that was fifty- 
one years ago, in pre-Enver days ! What was perhaps more to the 
purpose, by the hel^ of the two governors we procured horses and a 
kavass named Hussein, a picturesque warrior bristling with arms. 



312 Memories 



who was made personally responsible for our safety. The good 
Misseri had found us an excellent dragoman at Constantinople. 
I recommended him afterwards to Leighton — not yet President of 
the Royal Academy — who was delighted with him. 

Full of enthusiasm, the old poem stirring us to the very core, 
we wandered. Homer in hand, among the scenes made sacred for 
ever by the tale of the ten years' siege. We looked out — as the 
homesick Greeks did — ^upon Imbros, Tenedos, Lemnos, Samothrace, 
and dimly saw far-away Athos ; ahead of us was the glorious Ida 
range. Hardly a step could we take without treading upon broken 
marble and sherds of pottery, dumb witnesses of the vanished 
existence of a once teeming population, or probably three tiers of 
population — the men of King Priam's time, the Romans, the 
Genoese. All have left their traces, all are now forgotten by the 
few poverty-stricken Turkish villagers who have ignorantly 
succeeded to their heritage. 

The Scamander, long since diverted from its old course, was 
peaceful enough when we first crossed it ; but there came a great 
storm, the God descended into the river, and in a couple of hours 
the sluggish stream had become a wild, tearing flood ; to get back 
was out of the question, and we had to take refuge for the night in 
a Turkish farm-house, a very filthy haven of rest, or rather no-rest, 
where we were the prey of creeping and hopping creatures innumer- 
able. In the dead of the night the wind howled, the crazy house 
shook, and a portion of the ceiling plaster fell upon me, and began, 
as it seemed, to take unto itself legs and crawl all over me. Furious 
as the weather was, I jumped up and fled into an outside shed, where, 
after a bath by moonlight in Scamander, I waited for the dawn, 
which came at last, breaking into a glorious day, its beauty enhanced 
a hundredfold by the memory of the horrors of the night. 

As we sauntered over the hallowed plain, it needed no great play 
of the imagination to see the Grecian ships drawn up in line by the 
seashore ; to picture to ourselves the hosts of Europe and Asia 
facing one another in battle array ; to listen to the proud challenges 
of the leaders acclaimed by the shouts of their men ; Ajax, " like 
the dread Ares in person, striding mightily, in his harness of flashing 
brass, shaking his long shafted spear ; " to see the body of Hector 



The First Call of the East 313 

being dragged in cruel revenge round yonder barrow, which is the 
tomb of Patroclus ; to feel with the aged King Priam, praying for 
the ransom of his son's remains ; to mourn over the widowhood of 
Andromache ! These are the very springs near which Hector was 
killed, still pouring their runlets of water into the natural basin 
at which the deep-bosomed Trojan women were wont to wash their 
linen. 

It is good to remember those days spent amid traditions which 
three thousand years have not sufficed to strip of their glamour. 
If the plain still seemed to ring with the clash of arms, the slopes 
and wooded dells of " many fountained " Ida were so lovely, so 
full of poetry, that I half expected to see them peopled by lovely 
goddesses and shy dryads, hiding among the oaks and chestnuts 
and pines. But alas ! Aphrodite, the Queen of Smiles (was she 
not born in the foam of the countless smiles of the sea ?), has long 
since forsaken the haunts that she loved when the world was young 
— maybe the men of to-day are not so attractive as Anchises and 
Adonis, or as the lovely boy who drew down the chaste Artemi? 
from her crescent in high heaven to steal a kiss on earth. The 
goddesses remain sedate and unkissing among the clouds of 
Olympus, and no longer condescend to entrance the solitudes of 
shepherds, nor plead for the palm of beauty before a mortal judge. 
But if the goddesses have fled for ever, the sacred groves which 
they loved still remain full of the magic of their beauty and of 
the olden time. It is only we who are unworthy to receive the 
divine afflatus — we degenerate — of the earth, earthy. 

That Homer was himself and not a limited Uability company 
of ballad-mongers — that he, too, wandered where we did — is proved 
by his accurate picture of the landscape of the Troad. Kinglake 
brings forward the relative positions of Imbros and Samothrace. 
Poseidon viewed the war from Samothrace, but on the map Imbros 
stands between it and the Asiatic shore. How was the god's 
vision not masked ? Then Kinglake looked, and saw that Samo- 
thrace towered high above Imbros, so that Poseidon had well 
chosen his watch-tower. Ida gives what I think is a stiU better 
proof that Homer saw — and described what he saw. He could 
not have been bom blind. 



314 Memories 



Climbing Mount Ida, at first we rode through an enchanted 
forest, broken up by glades and pastures of rarest beauty, watered 
by crystal riUs springing from the living rock, and babbling their 
way down to the plain, to join Scamander, through scenes befitting 
the divine mysteries sung by the poets. Higher up the vegetation 
becomes less luxuriant and more stem, until it dwindles into mere 
scrub and finally ceases altogether. Then comes a stiff ascent 
over loose shingle, up which we had to drag our horses, slipping 
back a yard for every two yards gained. The stones are bare and 
almost polished, scarcely so much as a lichen to be seen, but when 
at last we painfuUy reached the top of Gargarus, there burst upon 
our view a carpet of brilliant wild flowers, marking the spot where 
Here lulled to sleep the mighty Zeus as he sat brooding over the 
help to be given to Hector and to Troy. It was a war in which 
the gods themselves took sides, and fought and schemed on behalf 
of those whom they took under their wings. 

Does not Homer tell us how, when Poseidon was helping the 
Greeks, the Queen of Heaven, the Lady Here, who was also on 
their side, saw her lord Zeus grimly watching from the heights 
of Ida over the Trojan host ? How to close his eyes and gain 
time ? The God of Sleep she suborns by promising to give him 
as his bride the beloved of his heart, the youngest of the Graces, 
fair Pasithae. The Goddess is Queen of all Majesty, yet she has 
but too good reason to know that Majesty by itself has lost its 
power over the Cloud-compeller ; so she begs of Aphrodite the loan 
of her cestus, the magic girdle which holds the secret of all those 
alluring charms which make love irresistible. Armed with this 
and having Sleep as her ally, she seeks her lord, and with sweet 
dalliance beguiles him into oblivion on the mountain-top. 

" Then the divine earth sent up a carpet thick and soft of newly^^ . 
budding grass, dew-sprinkled lotos, crocus and hyacinth " (Iliad, 
XIV.). Homer must have seen this wonder and invented the 
pretty fable of Here's wiles to account for this unexpected garden 
of wildings. 

To deny Homer or Shakespeare is a crime of high treason against 
the Majesty of Genius. For my part, in these days of acute 
criticism, when all faith is shattered and torn to shreds, I am not 



The First Call of the East 315 

ashamed to confess that I am yet old-fashioned enough to believe 
in Homer, and to love the old fables of the gods and goddesses, 
call them sun-myths or moon-myths, or what you will. To me 
Agamemnon, Achilles and Ajax; Priam, Hector, Andromache, 
Paris and dear, beautiful, naughty Helen, teterrima belli causa, 
are still real actors on the world's stage, who among these glades 
and forests and sweetly watered dells and plains played their 
parts in a great drama which has been the joy of countless genera- 
tions and will be the joy of generations that are yet to come. Of 
how much pleasure and beauty does not too much learning rob 
us ! Is it not enough that a thing is beautiful ? Why turn dia- 
monds into charcoal ? If we might reverse the process there 
would be some sense in it. 

At a pass on the top of a spur of the mountain range we came 
upon an excellent illustration of the eight-hours' system. At a 
point where caravans cross the mountain there was a little hut 
with a tiny vegetable garden. It was occupied by three Zebecs, 
guardians of the peace, and in some fashion customs officers. They 
divided the twenty-four hours between them. While one slept, 
another mounted guard, and the third robbed any unarmed 
travellers who might pass that way. We had luncheon in their 
hut ; the coffee and cigarettes were of the best — manifestly the 
spoils of the Egyptian. Refreshed and enriched with a store of 
happy memories, we came down upon the Bay of Adramyttium. 
The richly wooded gorges of the southern slope of the mountain 
were, if possible, even more beautiful than the Trojan side. We 
slept at Ardjelar, and next day took boat to Assos. 

We had now left the enchanted haunts of gods and goddesses, 
the battlefields of heroes, to linger for a while in the footsteps of 
the Holy Apostles. The Military Pasha at the Dardanelles had 
given us a letter for the Bimbashi in command, who was very 
civil and showed us over the ruins of the old Greek town, then said 
to be the most perfect in existence, but even fifty-one years ago 
fast disappearing under the hand of the destroyer, who must needs 
carry off the grand old masonry to build fortifications. The 
Bimbashi was wrecking the old town with ardour, for our friend 
the Pasha had written him an indignant despatch complaining 



3 1 6 Memories 



that the hidden treasures which were supposed to exist had not 
been found, and he begged us to write to the Pasha, sissuring him 
that all search had proved barren and there was no treasure trove. 

We were now eager to get on, so, in spite of dismal forebodings 
from our crew, we insisted on setting sail in an open caique, mean- 
ing to reach Aivali as soon as possible ; but wind and weather 
were too much for our poor little craft : we were promptly driven 
over to Lesbos, and it was forty-eight hours before we managed to 
reach our destination, after beating about the bay half starved 
and sleepless. 

There was a British Vice-Consul in the place — a Greek — who 
treated us most kindly, though it was rather a disappointment to 
two starvelings, after having doubled St. Paul's experience of 
" a night and day in the deep," to be offered, Turkish fashion, a 
teaspoonful of jam and a glass of water. However, a bountiful 
meal followed as soon as it could be cooked. We had a great 
disappointment about horses ; there were none to be had, and it 
was all the more provoking as we knew that we must be causing 
much trouble to our good host ; but we did not find out till after- 
wards, and then to our great confusion, that he actually turned 
his wife and his mother-in-law out of doors in order to lodge us. 

The next day at extortionate prices we procured horses and set 
out for Pergamos, riding through cotton-fields and olive-groves, 
past a cemetery devoted to the remains of victims murdered by a 
band of brigands who, until twelve months earlier, had infested 
that part of the country. But now they themselves had been 
caught and entered upon the inheritance of their final six feet of 
earth, so we had no fear. We reached Pergamos that night, a 
quaint and beautiful old town full of ruins and relics of the past, 
and lodged in a khan which Rembrandt would have etched with 
delight. What effects he would have produced with the variously 
and picturesquely dressed men, the camels and the horses, all dimly 
visible, scarcely more than guessed at, under the half light shed 
by an old-fashioned horn lantern. In two more days, on the 
28th of October, we arrived at Sm5mia, where we spent a 
most delightful week under the auspices of Mr. Cumberbatch, the 
British Consul. 



The First Call of the East 317 

Before finally parting with our kavass, Hussein, we wished to 
have a photograph of him. To this he strongly objected. Photo- 
graphy was not in those days so common in Turkey, at any rate 
in the out-of-the-way parts to which he belonged, as it is at present, 
and he considered that its practice must be in no very remote 
way connected with black magic ; when, on looking into the camera 
he saw the figures upside down, then he was persuaded that it 
could not be other than the work of Shaitan. However, at length 
he was persuaded. He was a merry, picturesque creature, be- 
guiling his time on the march by singing. George, the dragoman, 
gave me a translation of one of his songs. " The falcon looks to 
the water, but I cannot see my Lady. She wounds me, but I know 
not how to cure the wound. The falcon loves to descend upon the 
peacock, and I long to kiss the white throat of my Lady. She 
has a knife in her hand ; she is about to murder me. Yah ! Haii ! 
White are your legs, oh ! my Lady ! " 

October 29th. — I was very anxious to see the monument of 
Sesostris, a memorial of his victories, described by that beloved 
old traveller Herodotus, which is at Nif, within reach of 
Smyrna. A longish excursion. Herodotus mentions two such 
monuments, but so far as I know only this one has been 
discovered. We started at five o'clock in the morning with Mr. 
Cmnberbatch, escorted by his kavass and a movmted policeman. 
Even had there been no object of profound historic and artistic 
interest to be seen, the beauty of the excursion would have amply 
repaid our trouble. As the day broke we were met by successions 
of gorgeously lovely landscapes. 

The valley along which our road lay was hemmed in by moun- 
tains richly clothed with fruit trees, pines, cypresses and oaks, 
enfolded in the graceful drapery of vines and curtained with the 
festoons of climbing plants ; wild flowers carpeted the " floor of 
the forest," and fragrant shrubs perfumed the fresh morning air. 

In spring, when the cherries and other fruit trees are in blossom, 
this must be a happy valley indeed, but we saw it at its second 
moment of supreme beauty, when the woodland was aflame with 
what the Japanese call the brocade of the autumn tints. Nestled 
in the midst of these feasts for the eye lies the picturesque little 



3i8 Memories 



town of Nif, or Nymphi. As we saw' it, the market-place, with its 
stalls surrounding a noble group of Oriental plane trees, and filled 
with a busy, kaleidoscopic crowd still, at that time, clothed in Eastern 
garb, was like a scene devised by some cunning stage artist. We 
ate the food which we had brought with us in an ancient khan, 
itself a picture of the East, and then went to visit the Governor, 
whom the Consul knew. For a while we lingered in the inner court 
of the great man's palace, a study such as Alma Tadema would 
have loved to paint, with its marble floor, its plashing fountain, 
fringed with oleanders, and the arches of its cloister decked with 
orange and lemon trees. 

Two milk-white goats, his Excellency's special pets, came up 
confidentially to be stroked and coaxed. Presently the great man 
received us in an inner sanctum. Pipes, coffee, and phrases fol- 
lowed as usual, and then we went our way. Living the life of ease 
dear to the Turk in such surroundings — his home a gem Ln the 
loveliest setting — I felt that the Pasha must have realized the 
Italian dream of the sweetness of doing nothing. 

A ride of about two hours from the town brought us to our goal. 
It would not be an easy matter for a traveller to find the efiigy 
without a guide, so well is it hidden among the brushwood some 
three hundred yards above a pretty little mountain bum which 
comes tumbling down to the road. Would that it had been still 
better screened, for though there seemed to be people in Smyrna 
who had never heard of it, others there were who had found their 
way thither and thought it no sin to deface this hoary monument 
by graving their names in large letters all over the rock. One 
rufiian, a schoolmaster as I was told, had immortalized his vul- 
garity by chiselling his name deeply on the arm which lies across 
the breast of the old king. Had I been an autocrat I would have 
caused him to be soundly flogged by his own pupils. They would 
have enjoyed a rich, topsy-turvy treat and he would have met 
with a punishment befitting the crime. 

The rock was originally sloping, but was cut into the perpen- 
dicular from the bottom upwards, leaving at the base a ledge which 
served as a seat where a pilgrim might rest in comfort. The figure 
is carved in deep relief and is seven feet and seven inches high, 



The First Call of the East 319 



measuring four feet from the right elbow to the left hand. The 
features are much worn and the letters which were on the breast 
have disappeared. The left hand holds the spear and the right 
the bow. Here the description of Herodotus, otherwise correct, 
goes astray, for he reverses these positions. A very intelligible 
mistake if he wrote from memory on his return home from the 
expedition ; or possibly his account may have been taken from the 
other figure which he mentions. The conical cap, with a badge 
in front and a sort of brim to it, the spear and bow, the greaves on 
the thigh and a projection which must once have been the handle 
of a sword, are quite distinct. 

We stayed for some time in contemplation of this record, between 
forty and fifty centuries old, of the pride of the old Egyptian king, 
and then, mounting our horses, turned their heads westward, sad 
that this day of beauty had come to an end. It remains on my 
memory as a rare experience, a flawless holiday, fitly crowned by 
a sunset that seemed to wreathe Smyrna in flames and turn its 
beauteous bay into a great lake of liquid fire. 

October 30th, Sunday. — A day of rest much needed^ 
for since we landed at the Dardanelles we had been a good 
deal knocked about, far more than appears in these pages, so after 
church we lounged lazily about Smyrna and drank in the glory 
of the view from the citadel, where the old Genoese towers stand 
among the ruins that were once a stronghold built by some Cyclo- 
pean Vauban. Here, too, is a small mosque on a site where the 
Christian Church of the Revelation is said to have stood ; hard 
by must have been " the synagogue of Satan."* Very impressive, 
moreover, is the Turkish cemetery with its old and stately cypresses, 
finer even, as it seemed to us, than those of Constantinople. 

As we wandered homeward we came down upon the track of the 
Sm37ma and Aidin Railway. Wonderful are the caprices of fashion 1 
What the Sweet Waters of Europe are to the ladies of Constanti- 
nople, that to the fair dames of Smyrna were the less romantic 
rails of the neAv road. They were the fashionable promenade of 
the Sabbath-keeping bourgeoisie — the line was thronged by numbers 
of Turkish ladies in many-coloured dresses ; far more closely veiled 

* Revelation ii, 8. 



320 Memories 



in their ghostly white yashmaks than their more emancipated 
sisters in Stamboul. Greek, Armenian and Prankish beauties, in 
bright French or pseudo-French raiment — many of them radiant 
with the beauty for which Ismir is famous — made a motley crowd ; 
while sedate old Turks sat sipping their coffee and smoking their 
narghilehs in silent dignity under the orange and citron trees which 
fringe the cafes, watching from under their sleepy lids the brilliant 
colouring and glowing eyes of the Ionian dames and damsels. 

Waiting for a ship, or indeed for anything, is but dreary work, 
but there was no feeling dull at Smjnrna, for there was much to 
be seen and done, and we lingered luxuriously over the little that 
was left of a joyous holiday. 

Of course we went to Ephesus, where Mr. Wood, acting for the 
British Museum, had not yet made his great discoveries, though in 
his first year's work he had unearthed much that was of interest. 
The modem village of Ayazaluk is almost entirely built up of the 
stones of the old city all huddled together higgledy-piggledy. 
Rarely carved capitals of pillars turned topsy-turvy form incon- 
gruous bases for fir posts, supporting the verandahs of mud-built 
shops in which fruiterers, pastry cooks and tobacconists ply their 
trade. A ruined mosque is a beautiful rehc of old Moorish archi- 
tecture, inside of which ancient Greek pillars have been adapted. 
The very stones in the graveyard are fragments of old columns and 
Turkish marbles of the middle ages. But what a noble position ! 
And how glorious must Ephesus have been in the days of St. Paul, 
when it was a seaport and its imposing citadel overlooked the sea, 
now (in 1864) owing to alluvial deposits some four miles away ! 

Barring Damascus, no place is more full of associations and 
memories connected with St. Paul than Ephesus. It is strange 
indeed that so little should be known of the life of a saint whose 
ministry wrought more for the world than that of any other man 
before or since. Yet here are the remains of the very buildings 
among which he lived for years. It cannot be said of Ephesus 
as Lucan said of Troy " etiam periere ruinae." Neither Goths nor 
Turks have entirely wiped them out. 

Here is the great amphitheatre where the apostle " fought with 
beasts," where some twenty-five thousand spectators would assemble 



The First Call of the East 321 

lor such a sight, and where Demetrius the silversmith raised the 
riot against him and " the whole city was filled with confusion." 
Here, too, is a Uttle square building of stupendous antiquity, which 
tradition says was his prison ; and why should it not have been ? 
I am old-fashioned and simple enough to have faith in tradition, 
which is often as trustworthy as the written word, just as I humbly 
accept the letter written by St. Paul " to the saints which are at 
Ephesus," when he was " an ambassador in bonds," at Rome, 
and pay no heed to the learned hair-splittings of scholastic com- 
mentators, to whom I would say, in the famous words of Lord 
Melbourne, " Why can't you leave it alone ? " 

Seven years later I was again at Ephesus with Lord Stafford 
and George Crawley, and this time we found Mr. Wood triumphant. 
He had just reaped the fruit of eight years of assiduous labour — 
labour hindered by many difficulties, lack of funds, discourage- 
ment, and, last not least, the pestilent atmosphere of the fever 
swamps among which he had to work. 

This second visit was deeply interesting, nor was it devoid of 
a certain element of fun. That time we arrived at Smyrna from 
Beirut in a small Russian coasting steamer which was carrying 
pilgrims from the Holy Land back to Odessa — always a curious 
and interesting lot of passengers, as I often found. We had to 
face a succession of gales, to the great discomfiture of the poor 
zealots. One fat old pUgrimess told me pathetically that she 
would have died had she not thought of the inconvenience that 
her death would cause on board, and so in the spirit of self-sacrifice 
she resisted and consented to live. 

In the saloon, such as it was, we had as shipmate a certain 
elderly American general, who told us that he was an attorney, 
own correspondent to seven transatlantic newspapers, and that 
his journals were looked forward to by some of the leading families 
in various cities, unknown to me. As a man of letters he greatly 
admired Shakespeare. " Yes, sir ! " he said, " Shakespeare is 
quite ai^ institution. Emerson can write some poetry, but I guess 
he can't come up to that. With the Bible, Shakespeare and 
Webster's Dictionary, a man can get along. They are as good 
documents as a man need have for a library." A dear, innocent, 
VOL. I 21 



322 Memories 



unsophisticated man was the Attorney-General, very good-natured, 
and a source of great amusement during all the time that he re- 
mained sticking to us with the affection of a burr. 

Our lucky star was in the ascendant, for almost the first person 
whom we met in Smyrna was Mr. Wood, who most kindly agreed 
to go with us to Ephesus the next morning. When we reached 
the ruins, he showed us all his plans and explained his discoveries, 
setting forth the work of his eight years in an hour's pregnant 
talk. When he had made all clear, the good General said, " Then, 
sir, I gather from your conversation that the Temple of Diana 
was a round building." " Round, sir, round ! " said Mr. Wood, 
" haven't I been telling you all the time that it was square ? " 
Nothing abashed, the General looked round him and said : " Waal I 
if this was the site of the City of Ephesus, I'm glad to know it. It 
was quite considerable of a city, and the men that built it had some 
snap in 'em." 

Steered by om: learned pilot, we visited all the wonders that 
his patience and science had revealed — the Odeion, a beautiful 
little building with white marble steps decorated with carved lions' 
feet — the Wool Exchange, a most ingenious discovery — ^the marble 
tomb of Androclus. I have already spoken of the theatre, the 
stadium and other great witnesses of the past. Did we pass by 
the tomb of Mary Magdalene, that sweet woman whom the great 
Pope Gregory, for no earthly reason and without one scintilla of 
evidence, came to identify with the woman " which was a sinner " ? 
Did we see the tomb of St. Luke, who told that uimamed sinner's 
touching story ? Again I say, why not ? These are secrets which 
win not be revealed imtil the Last Day, when the graves shall give 
up their dead. But even an Evangelist must die somewhere, 
and what is more probable than that the early Christians, knowing 
where his remains lay in some place outside the city, should have 
brought them hither with pious pomp and reburied them in yonder 
round building, faced with marble and bearing as its device the 
bull, or buffalo, surmounted with a cross ? 

Mr. Wood's great find, then (in 1871) a discovery not very many 
da37s old, was the undoubted site of the great Temple of Diana. 
Careful study and reasoning led Mr. Wood to begin excavating 



The First Call of the East 323 

at a spot where he discovered the angle of the peribolus which was 
thrown by Augustus mog OioS; the Son of God. (How Uke the 
Chinese imperial title, Tien Tze, the son of Heaven!) Here were 
inscriptions bearing the name of the architect, the one partially 
the other wholly erased. This tallies with an edict which has 
been found ordering that the name of this man, who had fallen 
into disgrace, should be obUterated. 

Having found the angle, Mr. Wood went to work with new 
enthusiasm and energy, and was rewarded some two months before 
our arrival by the unearthing of a huge white marble column of 
exquisite workmanship in situ. Thus was the vexed question 
of the site of the mighty temple set at rest and Mr. Wood's w.tk 
crowned with success. Much has been done since his time ; but he 
showed the way, a successful pioneer. When we considered the 
vastness of the inclosure and the magnificent proportions of the 
column we understood the cry, " Great is Diana of the Ephesians ! " 
While Mr. Wood was giving us a lectvire of surpassing interest, 
I began to think that even the General was touched by the sacred 
fire of enthusiasm, but I was reckoning without my General. He 
was destined once more to put his foot in it. Like Sydney Smith's 
silent man, he rudely broke the spell. When Mr. Wood had 
finished speaking, he looked for a moment or two pensively at the 
column, and then picking up a great stone, said : " Waal now I 
Do think ! If that piece of marble was part of the Temple of 
Diana, I guess I'm bound to have a chunk of it," and was just 
about to chip off cis large a piece as he could, when Mr. Wood, who 
was nothing if not peppery, flew at him viciously ; the tiger that 
lies sleeping in every man was aroused, and I verily believe that 
had Mr. Wood held a deadly weapon in his hand our poor Attorney- 
General would have had but a faint chance of surviving. As it 
was he collapsed under the great discoverer's architectonic fury 
and remained sadly silent for the rest of the day. What manner 
of report, I wonder, did the seven newspapers receive of our 
Ephesian expedition ! 

The next morning at breakfast we took leavs of our General. 
We were bound for Constantinople and out ship was to sail 
at noon. He was bound heaven knows wiither in search of 

VOL. I 21* 



3^4 Memories 



paragraphs. After breakfast he announced his intention of going 
up to the citadel of Smyrna. " I am informed," he told us, " that 
there air up there some Cyclopean walls. Now Cyclops Uved quite 
a long while ago, and I'm not going to miss seeing what he built." 
It was rather a shame to disillusion the poor gentleman, but I 
thought of the seven across the Atlantic and was stony-hearted. 
When I explained to him the meaning of Cyclopean building the 
General was disenchanted, but he went up to the citadel neverthe- 
less, and I have no doubt made a very pretty story out of the great 
one-eyed builder. 



{ 
And now let me go back seven years and start again on Gun- 
powder Plot Day, 1864, when we left the radiantly beautiful bay 
of Smyrna for England on board the Austrian Lloyd's ship Messina. 
Twenty-six hours' steam brought us to the Island of S37ra, where, 
after being roasted for a day and a night on that sun-scorched rock, 
where no trace of vegetation is to be seen — to all appearance an 
island of bumboat-men and evil smells — on the 7th we shipped on 
board the Calcutta, also an Austrian Lloyd's ship, bound for Trieste. 
It is something to have seen Navarino and to have passed Ithaca, 
even in the night ; but what gave especial interest to our cruise 
was meeting Count Ungem Sternberg (or was he a Baron ? I 
forget), a Russian who was a relation of many people whom I had 
known well in St. Petersburg. Though a general in the army, he 
was one of those travelling agents who in those days used to 
wander over Europe apparently charged with no special mission, 
but keeping their ears and eyes open ever5nsrhere, and doubtless 
finding many an opportunity of rendering some underground 
service to the rather tortuous policy in which the Russian Foreign 
Office in those days delighted. Now that the Gortchakoffs and 
Ignatieffs have carried their diplomacy into another and let us 
hope a better world, there is perhaps no room for the political 
knight errant of whom Ungem Sternberg was at that time a rather 
famous representative. I knew him well by name, though we 
had never met, and he was a most agreeable companion. We 



The First Call of the East 325 

talked a great deal about our common friends in London, Paris, 
St. Petersburg (I cannot yet bring myself to talk of Petrograd). 
On politics, for some reason best known to himself, he was, as he 
would have put it, ires boutonne ; but when we reached Corfu and 
he saw the remains of the blown-up forts his excitement got the 
better of his diplomacy, and he could not conceal his joy at the 
loss which England had sustained, or his wonder at the short- 
sightedness which prompted it. " What was your Lord Russell 
about ? " he said. " See how many combinations may make England 
regret this step. For instance, suppose that France and Italy — 
no impossible contingency — ^were united against her ; what a strong- 
hold they would have at Corfu ! " 

This was much the opinion that Lord Palmerston professed in 
1850, but in 1863 he yielded to Lord Russell, and, apparently 
without a misgiving, gave up what he once considered too im- 
portant a naval and military post ever to be abandoned by us. 
Lord Russell, as usual, was outwitted ; he believed in a plebiscite 
and that a people should belong to masters of their own choosing ; 
he could not see that, in this case, the plebiscite was an engine worked 
largely by ecclesiastical means at the disposal of Russia — in fact, 
a political and clerical intrigue. 

A very intelligent Roman Catholic priest told me that the 
islanders, having been led by Mr. Gladstone, in 1858, to believe 
that England would never give up the protectorate, thought that 
they were quite safe in declaring for annexation to Greece, as they 
were urged to do by their priests. They would in that way save 
their face with the Orthodox Church, while they would still enjoy 
the material prosperity for which they had to thank England. 
They thought that their true interest was to run with the hare 
and hunt with the hounds. The Greek Archbishop used all his 
power to further the plans of Russia, and during the time of voting 
was nightly closeted in secret conference with the Russian Consul. 
When the end came. His Grace received a high decoration from 
the Tsar, from whom it was even said that he was actually in 
receipt of pay. 

Curiously enough, the party that had been hottest for annexa- 
tion with Greece under King Otho would not vote for it under 



3^6 Memories 



King George. The reason alleged was that the revolution against 
Otho had been the work of England, and that King George being 
the nominee of England, annexation with Greece would put the 
islands more than ever under the thumb of Great Britain. My 
priest went on to deplore the ruin which their mistaken national- 
ism had brought upon the unhappy people. Many of the principal 
business houses in Corfu were practically bankrupt and new failures 
daily expected. The poorer people found no sale for their fish and 
the produce of the farms, gardens and orchards. The market, 
which did a roaring trade daily, sometimes as much as two or three 
himdred pounds changing hands in a morning, was a thing of the 
past. Now there was no English Government House, no pro- 
sperous officials, no garrison, and with the departure of the last 
redcoat the happy days of plenty had gone. " Oh ! " he cried, 
" if you would only come back again ! " 

We went to the principal hotel in the great square. The land- 
lord received us with many expressions of joy. We ordered 
luncheon and a carriage. " I will go and cook at once," said he. 
" Eh ! Gentlemen ! Six months ago I had a cook and waiters 
and maids, two coachmen and plenty of horses. Now I must 
go and dress the luncheon. I must serve it ; and when you have 
finished I shall harness the carriage and drive you out ! and I 
shall make your beds if you sleep here to-night." Perfectly good- 
humoured the poor man was, and that made his story all the more 
pathetic. 

When we got home, after a drive through the lovely garden 
scenery, he made the beds, for we were not to sail till the next 
day. More talk in the evening. The distress was beyond belief, 
and it was no mere temporary distress — bad times with the hope 
of better things in the future. The olive harvest, for instance, 
was in deadly straits, for the proprietors could not pay a wage 
of five shillings a day for the gathering, and the labourers were 
the masters of the situation and could demand what they chose. 
In this way did the small landowners who helped in working the 
plebiscite reap the reward of their folly. Humble civil servants 
who used to be paid to the hour had to wait a week or a fortnight 
for the salary upon which their daily food depended. Cultivation 



The First Call of the East 327 

looked as though it must die out, for the four or five hundred 
wretched Greek soldiery who had replaced the English garrison 
spent their scanty pay on tobacco alone ; no one knew how they 
lived. Corfu was desolate and England had lost a stronghold 
that never can be replaced. No wonder the Ungem Stembergs 
rejoiced ! 

It is perhaps one of the signs of England's greatness that she 
has been able so far to survive the foreign policy of Lord Russell. 
Yet even to-day, in 1915, she is paying the penalty and at what 
a price ! I wonder whether if he were still alive he would tell 
us, as he did at Blairgowrie more than fifty years ago, to " Rest 
and be thankful." 

Nov. II. — Our last day's cruise was delightful. The calendar 
told us that we were in November. The weather said June. Our 
skipper being a native of Dalmatia intimately knowing the coast 
and all its snares dared to take his big ship inside the islands, so 
we had a view of lovely scenery usually only possible for the 
smallest of craft. At a point on the shore stood a little house 
and in front of it a group consisting of his wife and children, on 
the watch to wave him Godspeed ; possibly the chance of a glimpse 
of those dear ones weighed more with him than the desire to show 
us the beauties of the Dalmatian coast— at any rate, we were 
the gainers. 

At Trieste we said good-bye to our good friend the Russian, 
whom we left still chuckling over Lord Russell and the Ionian 
Islands. 



CHAPTER XV 

CHINA IN I 865-1866 

IN " Un pterin d' Angkor," which for the sake of its wonderful 
descriptions of tropical scenery is to me one of Pierre Loti's 
most charming books, he tells us how when he was a little child 
he was held in chains by the idea of the mysterious temples hidden 
away, forgotten, buried in the teeming jungles of Cambodia, and 
how at last his dream was realized in that long pilgrimage up the 
Mekong river of which his poetic descriptions, carrying us with 
a magician's wand into the mysterious silences of tropical forests, 
are tinged with that melancholy which seems inseparable from 
his genius, even when he calls up the happiness of reaching the 
long-wished for goal of a cherished ambition. I once asked him 
why he was so pessimistic — why that persistent note of sadness ? 
He answered very simply, " La vie est triste," and his eyes had 
that far away, yearning look, a characteristic of his, which seems 
so strange in a man whose life has been one long chain of briUiant 
successes. 

Well ! I too, as a child, had dreams which carried me far away. 
A kind aunt had given me a set of so-called rice-paper pictures of 
lovely imperial ladies with architectural structures of hair on 
their heads, gentlemen clad in purple silk robes with ephods em- 
broidered with five-clawed golden dragons, drawings of vividly- 
coloured flowers and fruit, of horror-striking tortures, unheard of 
out of Tartarus, being inflicted upon bleeding criminals. But 
beyond all was the story of Aladdin falling in love with the Princess 
Badroulbadour on her way to the bath at Peking. My young 
brain was aflame with the longing to go to China and see all these 

338 



China in 1865-1866 329 

things. How to manage it ? Should I ever get nearer to that 
land of wonders than a certain fascinating curiosity shop in Han- 
way Yard — ^now Hanway Street — a beloved and much-haunted 
place full of bowls and jars, eggshell china, rosebacked plates 
and lange Elizen, which now would fetch several pounds for every 
shilling that they cost then. That dream never left me. It 
haunted my boyhood 'and my young manhood and, like Pierre 
Loti's cherished dream, it came into life at last. 

One day in the month of February, 1865, Mr. Hammond came 
into the French Department of the Foreign Office evidently 
rather uneasy. He told us that he was very much put out by not 
being able to get a man to go out to Peking, to take the place of 
St. John who was coming home at once across Siberia. He had 
tried in vain to find someone and was in great difficulties. A 
sudden thought struck me. " Will you send me out ? " I asked. 
He hesitated for a moment and said, " Well, if you are really 
willing to go, we might arrange a transfer. How soon could you 
be ready ? " - " As soon as you please," I answered. " Can you 
be ready in a fortnight ? " I jumped at the offer and went out 
then and there to start on getting together my outfit. It was 
rather a suddenSurprise to my people when I reached home that 
afternoon laden with a sun-helmet and various small purchases 
of which the purpose did not at first sight seem quite clear to them. 

The last few days before my departure were spent a great deal 
with Sir Frederic Bruce, our minister at Peking, who was at home 
on leave, and who gave me all the advice that would be of value 
to a novice going out to the Far East. He was one of those men 
whom it is good to have known, singularly handsome, with a 
smile and laughing brown eyes which seemed to carry sunshine 
into every room that he went into ; he was a diplomatist of rare 
ability. Lord Elgin, indeed, with whom he first went out to 
China, used to say of him that he was by far the ablest of the four 
brothers, all of whom were certainly men of mark. 

At Peking he was an unqualified success. The Chinese, im- 
pressed like all Asiatics by a fine reverence for lineage and blue 
blood, saw in him a great gentleman whose transparent honesty 
they could trust. There were not very many legations in China 



330 Memories 



in his time, but the ministers who were his colleagues, men like 
M. de Bourboulon, the Frenchman, and General Vlangaly, the 
Russian, were devoted to him. They listened to him with the 
most profound respect and affection, and General Vlangaly told 
me that whenever any knotty problem cropped up the first ques- 
tion was " Qu'en dira Sir Frederic ? " His own staff from Wade 
downwards worshipped him. " Wade is a great mimic," he said 
to me once, " mind you ask him whether he has added me to his 
Gallery of Illustration."* He had done so, for when I asked 
Wade the question at Peking, he went off at score and told me 
how on one occasion he was interpreting for Sir Frederic at the 
Tsung Li Ya-men (the Foreign Office) when he. Wade, who was 
pepper itself, got extremely angry, while Sir Frederic was quietly 
puffing away at his cheroot. " But," said the Prince Regent, " I 
see that you are very angry — yet I believe that you are inter- 
preting for Pu Ta Jen (Sir F. Bruce) ; he, on the contrary, appears 
to be quite calm — ^not a bit angry." " There, Sir Frederic," said 
Wade, furious, " the Prince says that you are not angry — that it 
is only I who am excited." " Oh ! Damme," drawled Sir Frederic 
in his large, good-humoured way, taking the cheroot out of his 
mouth, " tell him I'm de3rvlish angry," and with that, beaming 
upon Prince Kung and the assembled mandarins, he smoked 
away as contentedly as before. Wade was telling the story against 
himself, and as he told it I could almost fancy that Sir Frederic 
was in the room. 

The day before I left I went to say good-bye to Sir Frederic. 
When we shook hands he said, " Remember that when you come 
back from China you must come to me wherever my post may 
be ! That is to say," he added with a sigh, " if I survive the age 
of fifty, which seems to be fatal to all of my family." The sad " if " 
was justified ! He went out as Minister to the United States, 
won all hearts there as he did everywhere else, and died of heart 
failure at some small railway station. I was told afterwards 

* The " Gallery of Illustration " was a place of entertainment famous 
in those days under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. German Reed (Miss PriscUla 
Horton), with whom were joined Arthur Cecil and Comey Grain. They 
produced, among other famous pieces, Sullivan and Burnand's Cox and Box. 



China in 1865-1866 331 

that a tablespoonful of brandy might have saved his precious 
life ! His death in 1867, at the age of fifty-three, was mourned 
in the East and in the West. 

1865 

I REACHED Paris on the 8th of March ; I was obUged to spend 
forty-eight hours there, as there were certain matters to which 
I was compelled to attend, also I was anxious to see Mr. John 
Dent, the head of the famous China house, and Baron Overbeck, 
the Austrian Consul General in Hong Kong, who was going East 
by the same mail. It was no great penance having to pass two 
evenings in Paris with them, for there was much going on, and 
Offenbach's " BeUe Heldne " a delight, with Schneider and Dupuis, 
was in full swing. Was there ever a piece half so gay, half so witty, 
or half so impudent ! The face of Paris when Helen showed hira 
" mes portraits de famille," Jupiter and Leda, Jupiter and Europa, 
Jupiter and Danae, etc. , was something to remember ! 

The loth of March, 1865, was a fateful day for the Napoleonic 
Dynasty, for on that day the Due de Momy, Louis Napol6on's 
half brother and most devoted friend, died. He was attended by 
Sir Joseph Olliffe, the physician of the English Embassy, arousing 
great jealousy among the French doctors, who of course swore 
that his Ufe might have been saved. Momy was the son of the 
Comte de Flahault, an old friend of my father's whom I knew 
when he was ambassador in London, and Queen Hortense. When 
Louis Napoleon became President of the Republic the two brothers 
met for the first time, and the deepest affection immediately sprang 
up between the two. Under the Empire, Momy who with Maupas, 
Persigny, and St. Arnaud, had been one of the chief actors in the 
coup d'etat of 1851, became President of the Corps L^gislatif, and 
held that office until 1856, when he went as ambassador to St. 
Petersburg, and in great splendour represented Louis Napoleon 
at the coronation of the Emperor Alexander the Second. On his 
return to Paris in 1857 he again took up the post of President. 

He was a dandy and viveur, a man of many accomplishments, 
and a capable if rather erratic statesman, but he was one of those 
members of the Imperial group who were fiercely accused of 



332 Memories 



gambling on the Bourse. However that might be, he was immensely 
popular. Paris loved him, fascinated by his reputation of irre- 
sistibility, and even by the contemptuous, haughty look with 
which he strode through the world ; when he died, the grief was 
general and imfeigned ; and poor Sir Joseph OUiffe was very 
cruelly attacked by the Faculty who were sure of the applause of 
the mob. The story of Momy's life and death furnished the 
" motif " of Alphonse Daudet's book " Le Nabab," which was 
certainly not written in the Napoleonic interest, for indeed Daudet 
was a partisan of the old regime. When Momy offered him a 
post in his private office he felt bound in common honesty to say 
that he was a legitimist. " Ma foi ! L'Imperatrice Test aussi," 
answered Momy, with his quiet, impertinent smile.* The frivolous 
side of Morny, the " Richelieu-Brummell," as Daudet called 
him, was always very much in evidence, and it was said, not with- 
out truth, that he showed far more interest in the rehearsals of 
M. Choufleun restera chez, lui — a rather poor operatic farce of his 
for which Offenbach wrote the music — than ever he did in the 
discussions of the Corps Legislatif. Indeed, while M. Choufleun 
was in preparation he was neither to have nor to hold, he would 
attend to nothing else. 

Louis Napoleon went to take leave of his brother on his death- 
bed. When the moment for leaving came, the dying man, hold- 
ing the Emperor's hand in his, summoned up strength enough 
to say : " Sire, mefiez-vous de I'Allemagne ! " Those were his 
last pregnant words to the Sovereign and brother whom he loved 
so well. This was told me by one who was present at what he 
described as a most touching death-bed scene, for the love between 
the two men was very real. That dying speech was prophetic. 

Had Morny lived things might have been very different ; but 
his death left a blank which could not be filled ; Louis Napol6on 
was fast growing old, martyrized by the disease which ultimately 
killed him ; he needed a strong man at his elbow — a man with 
political prescience ; failing that he fell into the hands of a gang, 
OlUvier, Gramont, Leboeuf and others, with female influences at 
work behind them, who led him to his ruin. Morny in spite of 
♦ See the preface to " Le Nabab." 



China in 1865-1866 333 

his gay, devil-may-care dandyism, could see clearly ahead ; he 
and he alone among the Emperor's surroundings might have 
saved the dynasty. But that was not to be ; it was doomed. 
The passing bell for Morny rang the knell of the Empire. 

The intimacy between Morny and Sir Joseph Olliffe, an old friend 
of ours whom we all loved, was something more, if possible, than 
that between physician and patient. There was a very firm attach- 
ment between the two, and they were engaged in an affair in which 
they both took the greatest interest. It was they who built Deau' 
vDle upon a site which I remember a flat wilderness of sand, with a 
few scanty bristles of rushes cropping up here and there, opposite 
Trouville, on the other side of the outlet of the river Toucques 
It is only fair to say that if Mora in the " Nabab " was a more or 
less faithful portrait of Morny, Jenkins, the quack Doctor, was 
certainly not drawn from Sir Joseph Olliffe, who was as upright and 
transparent an English gentleman as ever entered the medical 
profession. He was respected and loved by aU who knew him. 

On the night of the Due de Morny's death I left Paris for Mar- 
seilles. A terrible voyage on board the P. & O. s.s. Massilia, 
The Gtdf of Lyons was in a perfect fury, and the passengers sea-sick 
and mostly sulky at having to go out to " meet " the hot weather 
on the other side. This made ladies out of season, but my cabin- 
companion — one of those grumblers who are such a misfortune 
in the East — told me that even if it had been to " meet " the cool 
weather he should have left his wife and children behind ; according 
to him India was not a fit place for an English sow, let alone an 
English gentlewoman. The sea was so high that even the live stock 
on board suffered. Bets were going as to whether one bullock 
would survive the night of the 17th of March— odds against were 
laid freely. I do not reAiember which won — the sea or the bullock. 

When the railway deposited us at Suez (there was no Canal in those 
days) we were shipped on board the Simla, a crack ship. I had the 
luck to be separated from my grumbling ship-mate of the Massiliu, 
and was doubled up with Colonel Gloster, who was going out to 

command the Regiment in India. He and I and Overbeck 

with one or two others made a very pleasant little coterie. How 
much more delightful were the ships of those days, with their 



334 Memories 



beautiful, free, white decks and a view of the sea all round, than 
the modem floating castles, with all their extravagances and 
luxurious discomforts. Everything was spick and span, the metal 
fittings and binnacle shone like the gold in a Regent Street jeweller's 
shop. The decks were so clean that you might have eaten your 
dinner off them, and the quartermasters, as smart as blue- jackets 
in the Navy, were always on the alert to put the crooked straight 
or render some small service. It was like yachting in its highest 
perfection. 

A few days of lovely weather in the balmy air of the Indian Ocean, 
lounging, dozing, dreaming, watching the wild leaps of the flying- 
fish escaping from the dolphins, speculating upon the unknown that 
lay ahead — those were days of which every hour was precious. The 
four or five of us older men who had made friends sat together in a 
well-chosen comer. The griffins and youngsters boimd for the far 
East left us severely to ourselves ; we were told that they called 
our comer the lions' den. Well, we were very happy and did not 
growl too much. At Pointe de GaUe Overbeck and I bade Gloster 
good-bye. 

At Hong Kong, after three or four deUghtful days, thanks to 
the hospitality of Messrs. Dent, I parted from Overbeck, and the 
last link with the " lion?' den " of the Simla was finally broken. 
He, Gloster and I corresponded fitfully, but we did not meet again 
for nine years, and then in rather a curious way — indeed, if it were 
not for the wish to record the meeting later on, and to explain its 
significance, I should not have ventured to write about the voyage. 
All the " old China hands " of the sixties will remember with 
affection Captain " Ikey " Bernard, who commanded the Ganges 
which carried me from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Captain Bernard 
was a great character in the China Sea. He was the son of a former 
professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, from whom he had inherited 
literary tastes of which the choice Uttle Ubrary in his cabin gave 
proof, and he kept glowing more than a small spark of that sacred 
fire which bums upon the University altar. He made me free of 
his cabin, and I spent many hours there in great comfort, and with 
some profit. 

He was, moreover, something of an epicure, and he and I and two 



China in 1865-1866 335 



other passengers dined and had luncheon in his cabin, where we had 
the best that the ship could afford : it was a coasting voyage through 
narrow island passages, where one could almost hear the fury of the 
sea dashing itself agamst the black rocks frowning on either side ; 
we passed many fishing junks with their busy crews, and the skipper, 
who never could resist the temptation of fresh fish, would stop and 
buy quantities of pomfret, all alive, paying for them in ship's 
biscuit. Those were the halcyon days of monopoly. Fancy stop- 
ping a mail steamer to buy fish in these times of ocean-racing and 
competition ! Fifty years ago, "Ikey" Bernard did not hesitate. 
His father must have been a very cultivated and remarkable man. 
I remember a book of essays upon various subjects by him, full of 
wise and clever thoughts, amongst others one on Inspiration which 
fascinated me. I often met my friend " Ikey " during the years 
that I spent in the Far East, for, welcome whenever his ship touched 
the shore, he was one of those much-invited men, whom everybody 
is glad to secure, and we had many pleasant talks about all things 
and some others. 

Often I wondered what took him to sea ; with his literary tastes, 
which must have developed very young, he would have been so 
perfectly suited to a student's career, so entirely at home installed 
in the comfortable arm-chair of some common room, sipping his 
port after a good dinner in hall at the end of a day congenially spent 
in the thumbing of folios and quartos. He would have been an 
ideal Don — ^he was a splendid seaman. My old shipmate has pro- 
bably long since gone to his rest. If he be yet alive, my duty to 
him ! If not, may that rest be peace ! He was a genial, honest 
cultivated gentleman, and there are many less worthy names whose 
memory has been celebrated by far defter pens than mine. 

When I left Shanghai for Tientsing on the nth of May I was at 
last alone in the world. Up to that time I had had a succession 
of pleasant companions on board ; now, besides the very offensive 
native families huddled in the steerage, who, when the sun shone, 
spent their time in the himting of fleas — and worse — there was but 
one other passenger — one of the curious waifs and strays of Europe 
who at that time used to float about the China Sea, hoping to get a 
job, if not out of the Peking Government, at any rate out of some 



3^6 Memories 



provincial Governor or local mandarin. I suppose that they some- 
times succeeded ; at any rate they were always ready to stake their 
small capital upon the venture ; if they failed, when the hundred or 
two of dollars were spent they went under and joined the seething 
mass of undesirables who used to loaf about the open ports, picking 
up a meal and a drink — oftenest a drink — ^wherever the fates would 
be kind. 

It was a dull voyage through a leaden sea into which we steamed 
after a thick fog had sent us hard and fast aground on one of the 
treacherous shoals of the Yang Tse Chiang. Then came a speU of 
dirty weather, till we reached the fine broad headland of the Shan- 
tung promontory with the outlying rocky islands, which are the 
danger of this part of the China sea. There was a strong colony of 
rats on board, and in the great river we had shipped a host of the 
most ravenous mosquitoes, whose singing was almost as bad as their 
biting. Altogether a trip that is best forgotten. 

There was plenty of time to think over all the wonders that I 
had seen since leaving Suez — Mount Sinai — the yeUow desert of 
Eastern Africa ; the fiery rocks of Aden ; the palm groves of 
Ceylon, lapped by the waves of the Indian Ocean ; the nutmeg 
orchards of Penang scenting the air ; the pineapple hedges of Singa- 
pore ; brown huts teeming with even browner life, Ufted above the 
fever-swamps like the old lake-dwellings of the men who lived 
before history was ; Canton, with its narrow streets and many- 
coloured, gilded perpendicular signs, as if a pantomime procession 
had been suddenly arrested and turned to stone by the head of a 
Medusa. But above all, the boundless hospitality and kindness 
of the merchant princes of Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

Those were the last of the days when the China trade was in the 
hands of a few great houses ; when the wonderful yearly ocean 
race took place to land the first cargo of tea in London ; when the 
opium-clippers from Bombay would lie under Pok-Fa-Lum, land 
the supercargo and wait till he and the house to which his ship was 
consigned had made the price and then sail gallantly roimd the 
comer into Hong Kong. Vast fortunes were made in opium, silk 
and tea, and right royally were they spent. The men who used up 
their lives in imhealthy climates, far away from home and family. 



China in 1865-1866 337 

sacrificing much and often suffering much, felt that they had a 
right to find what compensation they could in making their banish^ 
ment tolerable ; but what they seemed to delight in more than aught 
else was in welcoming those fellow countrymen whom duty or 
pleasure carried within possible range of their kindness. 

There were no hotels in the old days, but any man who had a 
letter for one of the great houses would be sure of as hearty a wel- 
come as if he had been an old and a dear friend. 

Our one port of call was Chifu, a quaint little seaside town with 
rather a pretty background of hills, used as a sea-bathing place by 
some of the Europeans in North China. Here it was that a few 
months before a not very large packing-case was deUvered, which, 
on being opened, was found to contain human fragments which 
were the remains of the traitor Burgevine, an adventurer who, 
having been first in the service of the Imperial Government, went 
over to the Taiping rebels, and finally falling into the hands of the 
Imperial army, was sentenced to death by Ling Chi — ^hacking to 
pieces in small morsels, the punishment of high treason. 

Here I made the acquaintance of a notable man, one of those 
heroes who disappear, unknown and unrecorded, swallowed up by 
some cataclysm of fate before the world has had a chance of knowing 
what it has lost. Mr. Thomas was a missionary sent out by the 
London Missionary Society to China ; he had a real genius for 
acquiring languages — speaking French, German, Russian, without 
having had any facility save his own talents and industry. It 
was not long before he attained quite a considerable proficiency 
in the spoken language of northern China, but when he had been 
eighteen months in the country he was called upon by the Society 
to preach in Chinese. This he refused to do, for he was too clever 
a linguist not to be aware of the pitfalls created by a modicum of 
knowledge, and he declined to make Christianity ridiculous. So 
he and the Society parted, and he continued to work, living upon 
a miserable pittance as best he might. 

In the meantime he had become bitten with the desire to learn 
Corean — a language of which practically nothing was known. He 
made friends with the skipper of a Corean junk trading with Chifu, 
on board of which he lived for some weeks. He urged his friend to 

VOL. I 32 



33^ Memories 



let him sail with him for Seoul, but the Hermit Kingdom, as it was 
called, resolutely shut its gates to aU foreigners, and to approach it 
was death. Nothing daunted, Mr. Thomas ended by gaining his 
point, and the skipper consented to take him, on condition that he 
should wear the native dress, in mourning, which meant that a 
veil should hang from the brim of the taU hat, completely concealing 
the face. The voyage was successful, the venturesome Englishman 
was not discovered, and it was not long after his return that I met 
him. He was a singularly attractive personality, handsome, clever 
and, in spite of a certain modest reticence, very interesting. 

There is an old French saying, Qui a hu boira. Mr. Thomas was 
not contented with his unique achievement ; he must needs go back 
again. He could not rest. At last, after many vain trials, by hold- 
ing out prospects of great gain, he persuaded the captain of a small 
American ship to sail for Corea with himself as interpreter. It is 
known that they reached Chemulpho and anchored in the Seoul 
River. In the night the Coreans came down in force and set fire 
to the ship. " The rest is silence ! " — ^not a soul escaped. It was 
at Peking that I heard the news some months later ; and it was there 
that I realized how wise he had been when he refused to degrade 
our Faith by attempting to expound it to a people singularly alive 
to the dignity of letters. 

There was in Peking in my time one of the best men that I ever 
knew. He was a Scot, possessed of some means of his own, besides 
a salary from the Society which sent him out as missionary. He 
worked like a slave at the language, and translated the " Pilgrim's 
Progress " into Chinese, which he published with pictures of 
Christian and all the great characters dressed in the Chinese costume 
with pig-tails. Alas ! in many removals my copy, which he gave 
me, has been lost. He also wore the native dress, lived on a tiao, 
something like sixpence of our money, a day, and gave the rest of 
his ample means to the poor. He had no particle of linguistic 
talent, and yet he would preach ! I have heard him address a crowd 
of Chinese outside the Chien Men, the great gate of the Tartar city, 
from the top of a cart, preaching in Chinese pronounced with a strong 
Aberdonian accent, and when he had finished call out " iVt men tung 
te pu ttmg U " (" Do you understand? "), and with one accord the 



China in 1865-1866 339 

crowd cried back, shaking their hands from side to side : " Pu tung 
U I " {" We don't understand"). 

And now try to reaUze what this means. Fancy a Chinese 
missionary standing on the top of a taxi-cab at Charing Cross, 
preaching Buddhism in pidgin EngHsh to a cockney mob, and you 
have the analogy. Here was a good man, a very good man, whose 
whole life was an example of the purest Christianity, turning that 
Christianity into a farce, for the " heathen " to mock at. 

How well I remember a few days after my arrival at Peking, as I 
was riding out of the Legation gates, being greeted by a gentleman 
in Chinese dress, who was sitting on the bench by the escort's guard- 
room, in the broadest Scotch. It was my friend the missionary. 
He had a little church of his own at which his few converts attended, 
and there was one little boy, by whom he set great store, who was 
by way of acting in some sort as attendant. When the good man was 
engrossed in his sermon, John (for he had been baptized) would 
quietly run out and indulge in foot-shuttlecock — a very pretty game, 
by the bye — or some other sport dear to the Pekingese street arabs, 
untU the voice of the preacher ceased, when he would be sternly 
called back to his duties. 

Mr. Thomas knew better than to risk the ridicule of preaching. 
When the Society insisted, they lost the services of a saint, a 
devoted apostle who was, above all other men whom I came across. 
in the Far East, fitted by genius, by learning,- and by courage, ta 
have done the work which they and he had at heart. Few 
personalities that I have met in the long days of my life have, 
impressed me more. He was a young man, about eight and twenty,. 
Had he hved he must have made his mark ; he fell a sacrifice to> 
ignorance and stupidity, the two demons which have wrought 
so much evil in the world. 4 

We left Chifu in the afternoon of Monday, the fifteenth of May, 
and on the Tuesday morning took in the pilot who was to steer 
us up the tortuous course of the Pei Ho river. The first sight of 
the Taku Forts filled me with pity for the two garrisons — the one 
British, the other French — ^which had occupied them since i860 
lest the disaster of 1859, when Sir Frederic Bruce tried in vain to 
reach Peking for the ratification of the Treaty and two of our gun- 
VOL. J 22* 



34° Memories 



boats were sunk, should be repeated. The desolation of the place 
was chilling. On the side of the fort occupied by our troops were 
a few mud huts and a sort of wretched inn, the rendezvous of pilots. 

On the French side it was even worse — ^nothing but an endless 
bleak tract of mud, flush with the filthy water, all of one colour 
with the land, so that it was hard to say where the mud ended and 
the sea began, and even the wild fowl seemed sad and desolate, 
and I wondered why, having wings, they did not fly to some more 
cheerful home. No more filthy little stream than the Pei Ho 
ever defiled a sea. . As I wrote at the time : " Mud forts, mud 
houses, mud fields, and a muddy river discharging its daily burthen 
of mud into a muddy sea — everjrthing is mud." It is difficult for 
water, especially nmning water, to be ugly and uninteresting, but 
the Pei Ho accomplished that feat. Higher up the stream there 
were some stunted trees and green fields, but the country was 
utterly dull and featureless. The navigation of the river was 
difficult enough ; perpetually shifting mud-banks in mid-stream 
made the channel as crooked and imcertain as Chinese diplomacy. 

Several times we collided with junks, and on more than one 
occasion our pilot had to send men ashore with a hawser which 
they fastened round a willow tree to let the ship swing. She was 
a queer little tramp, stout enough and fast enough, as times went, 
for she could do her eight knots, and perhaps a half, in the open 
sea, but the strangest thing about her was that, although nominally 
belonging to a German firm, she was really owned by a Chinese 
merchant in Tientsing, to whom the whole of her cargo was con- 
signed. That fifty years ago the Chinese, so stiff-backed against 
all that was European, should have owned a foreign-built steam 
tramp seems almost incredible. But the little Yiin ts^fei, " Walkee 
all same fly," as a Chinaman translated her name, did her little 
commercial patrol of the Gulf of Pei-chi-li with great regularity. 

I found Tientsing holiday-making. Saurin, my old friend and 
colleague, had come down from Peking for the races with M. Glinka, 
an attache of the Russian Legation, and they were stajdng with 
M. Buitzow, the Russian Consul, who very kindly put me up also ; 
I met him again eight years later, on the occasion of my second 
visit to Japan in 1873 — a very agreeable man. 



China in 1865-1866 341 

It was a stroke of luck falling in with Saurin, for we left Tientsing 
together the next day and so I had a friend under whose auspices 
I was able to reach Peking in far greater comfort than I could have 
expected. We wriggled up the ugly corkscrew stream in three 
boats ; up one reach we had the wind with us, in the next it would 
be dead against us, and we could only get along by towing and 
punting. The shoals were as innumerable as ever and so we were 
constantly crossing the river along a course mapped out by twigs 
of willow stuck in the mud. However, at last, at two in the after- 
noon of Sunday the twenty-first, we reached Tungchou — famous 
for the tragedy of the capture of the English prisoners in i860 — 
and outside the walls of the city, under the pleasant shade of a 
great tree by a wayside inn, we found our horses and an escort 
which had been sent to meet us. My horse was a grey Arab that 
had been the charger of my gallant friend Colonel Fane of Fane's 
Horse who, like my friend now of more than half a century. Sir 
Dighton Prob3ni, had played a conspicuous part in the war of i860. 

The country between Tungchou and Peking is absolutely fiat, 
very populous, with many villages and endless graveyards, the 
most sacred of all objects to the Chinaman. There are plenty of 
fine trees and a wealth of greenery in the richly cultivated fields, 
so that I was rather agreeably surprised, for I had expected nothing 
so refreshing to the eye : to be sure, it was the early summer, before 
the scorching heats and long droughts had come to tan the crops to 
one uniform brown. All of a sudden, at a turn of the road close in 
front of us, quite unsuspected, invisible until we were immediately 
under it/ 1 saw before me the city of Peking, the city of my dreams. 

There at last were the grim, dark grey walls just as I had fancied 
them, formidable, frowning ; behind them the mystery of centuries. 
At intervals rose the great towers, rearing their fantastic roofs 
with curved eaves above huge gates in and out of which the yellow 
crowds were hurrying, jostling, eagerly busy. Coolies carrying 
their burdens at each end of a bamboo pole slung across one shoulder, 
merchants, small gentry, carts tenanted, some by mandarins sur- 
rounded by retainers with their red-tasselled caps, others by much- 
painted ladies with gaudy ornaments in the edifices of their 
quaintly-dressed, shining black hair; old women in charge of 



342 Memories 



babies ; a prisoner guarded by two jailers, his head protruding 
out of the heavy wooden cangue ; the beggars, quite worthy of their 
fame for filth and repulsiveness — ^just such a crowd as existed 
in KSng Hsi's time two hundred years ago, nothing changed, save 
that the city has grown a Uttle more shabby, with more ruined 
spaces caused by fire and neglect in a country where nothing is 
ever repaired ; above all, a whole series of seemingly familiar 
pictures — the rice-paper drawings of my childhood in the flesh ! 

But the dust ! I have seen dust in many lands — one of the 
meannesses of Providence, poor Alfred Montgomery used to call 
it — ^notably in South Africa which, in that respect and some others, 
is bad to beat ; but Peking outdoes them all. Fancy riding up 
to your horse's hocks in a fine black powder, which, when the 
wind blows over the desert of Gobi, pervades everything ; insidious, 
ineluctable, streaming in thin rays like the motes in a sunbeam 
through unsuspected chinks and crevices until you may trace your 
name with your finger on any single thing in your most cunningly 
protected room. 

In one of those dust-storms, thick as a London fog, I have known 
a boat leaving a ship outside the Taku forts, forced to pull round 
and round in blind circles until the black veil should lift, or rather 
fall, and daylight once more break through the gloom. And when 
the rainy season comes, then the streets of Peking are like canals 
in which what once was dust is now a noisome Acherontian slime. 

Peking stands in need of forgiveness for much. Smells that 
must be smelt to be believed ; sights such as the Beggars' Bridge, 
which are sickening horrors ; squalid houses, suggesting inde- 
scribable interiors, for the manners and customs of the Po Hsing* 
are not attractive ; streets ill-paved and never cleaned ; much to 
offend the senses at every step, and yet, abuse it as we might, Peking 
as I knew it fifty years ago had about it a certain mysterious charm 
which I think most people felt, and which has never been so well 
described as by Baroness von Heyking in " Briefe die ihn nicht 
erreichten." How cleverly, without any attempt at description, 
by a few magic words scattered here and there, she makes us feel 
the magic of the old, sad-coloured, grey, ruinous city ! 
* Po Hsing — " the hundred names " = the oi ttoXXoi. 



CHAPTER XVI 

PEKING 

WE rode into Peking at the Hata Gate and threading our 
way through the throng, soon found ourselves outside the 
Liang Kung Fu, the palace of the Dukes of Liang, which was the 
English Legation, separated by a road from an almost dry canal. 
The great gates were thrown open by the escort man on duty and 
we rode in to receive the warmest welcome from Mr. Wade, 
the charge d'affaires, who later became Sir Thomas Wade, K.C.B., 
G.C.M.G., and British Minister. 

I soon found that Sir Frederic Bruce had in no wise exaggerated 
the delight that was to be had in Mr. Wade's society. He was 
at that time a man of forty-seven, but he looked older, for climate 
and a strenuous life during a quarter of a century into which he 
had packed more adventures and experiences than fall to the lot 
of most men in twice the time, had told upon him ; but in char- 
acter he was as gay as a boy, full of ftm, with a keen sense of humour, 
and an excellent story-teller, a talent to which his powers as a 
mimic, of which I have already spoken, contributed not a little. 

He had been a soldier for a time, like his father, holding a 
commission in the 42n ' Highlanders and afterwards in the 
98th, of which Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, was Colonel, and 
which was to take part in the first China war in 1841. On the 
way out round the Cape, being already an expert in European lan- 
guages, he set to work to learn Chinese. It was a colossal task 
which few men would have attempted ; indeed, remembering the 
very scanty books which then existed, I can hardly conceive how 
he took the first plunge. During the war he was of the greatest 

343 



344 Memories 



use and so, when peace came, he was appointed interpreter to the 
garrison at Hong Kong. 

The part which he played in all subsequent events in China 
till the end of the war in i860 is well known, though it was not 
sufficiently recognized until long afterwards. He was always 
building nests for other birds to lay in. Take, for instance, the 
case of the Maritime Customs of China. Out of ten thousand 
well-informed men there is perhaps not one who does not believe 
that the Imperial Customs Service of China was formed and 
organized by Sir Robert Hart. Yet that is not the case. The 
service was started and organized in 1854, when Hart was an 
unknown quantity and just leaving Belfast as a boy of nineteen, 
by an international committee, English, French and American, 
Wade being the English representative, and the working man of 
the three ; so much so that the other two, feeling that they were 
not necessary, retired, leaving the Englishman to finish the job, 
and carrying into practice Lord John Russell's dictum that the 
best committee is a committee of three, of whom two are silent. 

As soon as the new department was well on its feet Wade, who had 
no mind to become a Chinese official, resigned, and became Chinese 
Secretary under Sir John Bowring, Governor of Hong Kong. He 
was succeeded as Inspector-General by Mr. H. N. Lay, a very able 
man, the originator of the Lay-Osbom fleet which was commanded by 
Captain, afterwards Admiral, Sherard Osbom in 1863, a scheme which 
broke down owing to the faithlessness of the Chinese Government. 
Lay, clever as he was, had the misfortune to be what the French 
call a mauvais coucheur in affairs, and his demands upon the 
Chinese were rather more peremptory and dictatorial than they 
were prepared to admit ; the result was a quarrel and Hart was 
appointed in his place. There were, therefore, two Inspectors- 
General before Hart. Nobody denies the powers of the latter 
as an organizer — least of all did Sir Thomas Wade question them ; 
on the contrary he was, perhaps. Sir Robert Hart's greatest 
admirer, and far too generous even to hint at the fact that the 
service was his own chUd. I did not share his admiration of his 
successor and we had many arguments upon the subject. Had 
Wade, who was loyalty itself, lived to see the Boxer riots and read 



Peking 345 

the two articles in an English magazine in which, when the trouble 
was over. Hart professed that the Boxer rising was a patriotic 
endeavour, and practically advised the Boxers to begin over again 
with the proviso that they should have a care to be better equipped 
and prepared, I think that he would have come round to my 
opinion. 

Sir Robert Hart knew that his articles would fly under the seas 
by cable ; he also knew, none better, the effect that they would 
produce ; how sweet his words would be to the Empress Tsii Hsi, 
to her eunuchs and the whole Court over which they ruled and 
before whom he bowed the knee ! In the meantime honours were 
showered upon him. He was made a baronet, and at one time Lord 
Salisbury who, great as he was, never quite seemed to recognize 
the importance and needs of China, actually appointed him to be 
British Minister at Peking, a post which, happily, he did not take 
up. What Lord Salisbury failed to see was that, great as Hart's 
influence with the Chinese undoubtedly was, that influence would die 
the death the day he left their service to enter ours. They would 
have looked upon him as a turncoat who had wormed himself 
into their secrets in order to use them on our behalf, and he would 
have had far less influence than any average Englishman promoted 
in the ordinary course. Nay more ; it might conceivably, indeed 
it probably would, have wrecked the Customs service. There were 
not lacking mandarins who would gladly have returned to the old 
system of bribery and squeeze, and would have been ready to do 
all in their power under the guise of patriotic objections to get rid 
of an organization which was death to their methods and of all the 
foreigners who controlled it. The cry would be : " See the danger 
of admitting the foreign devils to our councUs." Nobody knew 
this better than Hart himself; moreover, had he accepted the 
post he would have been making a great monetary sacrifice and 
would have given up what was practically an autocracy for a. 
position which, however honourable, would have placed him under 
an oversight to which he had long been a stranger. 

Sir Robert Hart's attitude after the Boxer affair showed how he 
clung to the goodwill of the Tartar Government, and how little 
he cared what his countrymen must think of him so long as he 



34^ Memories 



might retain the favour of the Empress Tsii Hsi — ^the " old 
Buddha " — and her creatures. 

No sketch of Peking, however shght, is possible without some 
mention of that remarkable man. He was a maker of history, 
and may have been a good friend to China. To Europe he certainly 
was not ; but he was an excellent friend to Sir Robert Hart, and 
to those whose careers, in the interest of his own, he chose to push. 

The British Legation, as I first saw it before it was pulled about 
and vulgarized, was certainly a very striking place, with huge 
courtyards shaded by trees, among them the famous lace-bark pine* 
which is such a feature in Northern China; immediately inside 
the courtyard, mounting guard over a picturesquely roofed stately 
hall or pavilion open to the winds of heaven, were two great stone 
shi-dzU (lions), griiming vain defiance at the foreign devils who had 
invaded the sanctuary over which they watched, then a space, 
beyond that a second open hall, and after that the. minister's 
quarters decorated in the most classical Chinese fashion — ^the last 
word of Pekingese art. 

In one of Lord Elgin's picturesque despatches — to Lord Mabnes- 
bury if my memory serves me — but that is immaterial — ^he wrote 
that he could not better describe the desolation of Nanking, the 
ancient Southern Capital, than by saying that while riding through 
the city he flushed a cock-pheasant. Had he been as well ac- 
quainted with China then as he was afterwards, he would have 
known that this was but evidence of the great luxury of space 
which the Chinese nobles allowed themselves— 'their palaces were 
•surrounded by grounds as broad as, or broader than, the gardens 
of suburban villas at Putney or Richmond. That of the old Dukes 
of Liang was exceptionally rich in elbow room. One night — to 
follow Lord Elgin's lead — one of our escort men, who kept fowls 
and had been sorely tried by depredations, shot two foxes close to 
his quarters. There was no hunt and no poultry committee at 
Peking, so he had to take the law into his own hands. There was 
a legend that even wolves had been seen in Peking in severe winters. 
I at once fell in love with the old Liang Kung Fu and I was savage 
when the great open halls — such a picture of the past — were bricked 

• Pinus Bungeana,; 



Peking 347 

up and turned into chanceries and offices, which might well have 
been placed elsewhere. No wonder the very stone lions tried to 
growl ! The beautiful Liang Kung Fu ! I wonder what it looks 
like now after fifty years of vandal ministers and the Boxer 
siege ! 

Saurin and I dined with Wade that night— an excellent dinner ; 
the Chinese are first rate cooks — for cooking is a fine art in which 
they excel, probably because it does not involve a knowledge oi 
perspective. What a host he was ! so light in hand, so delicate 
in his wit, so full of conversation, the edge of which was sharpened 
by reading in many tongues. For Wade was no dried up sino- 
logue—skilled as he was in the learning of the Chinese, he had kept 
himself well on a level with the times by reading all that was best 
in the literature of the West ; but the memories of his long and 
varied experiences gave to his talk a flavour rich, varied, and outside 
of the common. 

In poetry he was eclectic — devoted to the great classic singers 
of all countries. For Tennyson he had no great admiration — said 
he was the sort of boy who would be sent up for good once a week 
— and yet I have known the tears come into his eyes when he was 
quoting a stanza from the poems of some far lesser light. If he 
read aloud a favourite passage, something that touched his heart, 
his voice would break, compelling his listener to feel with him. 
What a lovable man he was ! He was so sympathetic, so modest 
in talking of his own work, so generous in his estimate of that of 
others ; deeply though unostentatiously religious, brave as a 
Bayard, devoted to duty. Sir Thomas Wade was one of those men 
in whom our public service is happily rich, men who for a mere 
pittance as compared with what they might have earned in other 
walks of life, and with very little prospect of high honours, are 
content to pass their lives in exile, making light of health, risking 
death as he often did, and sacrificing to the interests of the Empire 
aU the attractions of social, literary and artistic life, happy only 
in the thought that they are spending themselves for their country. 
Wade was very much pleased when I told him of my ambition 
to learn Chinese and promised to help me as much as he could, and 
most kindly was that promise fulfilled, for in about a fortnight he 



34^ Memories 



brought me the first two or three sheets of a series of conversational 
exercises which afterwards developed into the " Yii-yen Tsii-Srh 
chi," a book of the greatest value. 

It was the irony of fate that, essentially a scholar by nature, 
the line which his scholarship had taken forced him into an official 
groove, which was outside the scope of his wishes but from which 
there was no escape. He would have been so happy working at 
philology. He often used to express to me his longing to be at 
rest in some congenial seat of learning, there to pursue his studies 
and hterary labours. His wish was gratified at last ; but not 
before sticking manfully at his post he had become minister and 
K.C.B. ; for when he retired in 1883, he settled at Cambridge, 
where he became professor of Chinese, with no pupils, as he lamented 
to me, and where twelve years later he died. One of my greatest 
treasures, which never leaves me, is a little old shabby Bible which 
he gave me at Peking fifty years ago. Dear Wade ! 

Not long after my arrival in Peking the great heat set in, and 
the thermometer rose to 108° in the shade ; the smells became 
intolerable — it was as if the city were one vast shrine in honoin: of 
Venus Cloacina — it was time to fly to the hills. Saurin and I had 
engaged a lovely Buddhist temple called Pi Yiin Ssii, the Temple 
of the Azure Clouds, and thither we rode out one fine day in July, 
passing over a beautiful plain studded with farmsteads picturesquely 
shaded by tall trees, prosperous villages, and burial places, the 
romantic charm of which apparently compensates the Chinese 
peasant in death for the dreariness in which he contentedly passes 
his life — a mechanical process of eating, drinking and sleeping 
without hope, without ambition, without more thought for the 
morrow than is involved in ploughing and sowing, reaping and 
threshing. 

The trees which bear witness to the loving care with which 
the graveyards are tended, and make the villages look so snug and 
homelike, were a delight. Groves of poplars, ailanthus, the aro- 
matic cedrela and willows, cast refreshing lights and shades, good 
to look upon. Not far from Pa Pao Shan stands a noble group 
of the maidenhair tree, Salisburia adiantifolia, while the cemeteries 
are darkly shaded by tall Chinese junipers, and the weird lace- 



Peking 349 

bark pine, Pinus Bungeana, whose stems and branches, richly 
embroidered with silver patches, gleam ghostlike among the more 
brilliant foliage. 

Nestled among the picturesquely wooded recesses of the western 
mountains, some twelve to fifteen miles from -Peking, are a number 
of temples, each more enchanting than the last, marvels of archi- 
tecture, decorated with all the skill in which Chinese art excels. 
Here at least there is no decay — no ruin. Worm and weather are 
kept at bay by the offerings of the faithful who come to Kwang 
Miao, to pay homage to the temple, and by the few dollars for 
which the priests are willing to hire out their guest-chambers to 
the foreign devils seeking a refuge from the pestilential terrors of 
the urban summer. 

Quite one of the most beautiful of these was the Temple of the 
Azure Clouds. As picturesque as its name, it was built in tiers 
on the mountain side, and on each terrace was a shrine — statues of 
black marble and white, alti-rilievi and bassi-rUievi portrayed 
kings and warriors, gods and goddesses and fabled monsters, all 
of rare workmanship, legends writ in stone that the study of a life- 
time would hardly suffice to master, and all set in a surrounding 
of rock work, fountains, woods and gardens before which an 
European landscape gardener might commit suicide in sheer 
despair. From the highest of these terraces, in front of a mar- 
vellous Indian idol with ten heads in tiers of three surmounted by 
one, there is a grand panoramic view, with the sad-coloured walls 
and quaint towers of Peking in the dim distance. 

Our quarters were ideal. Our dining-room was an open pavilion, 
surrounded by a pond and a rockery which looked as if, like poetry, 
it had been born not made, feathered with ferns and clothed with a 
profusion of mosses ; high trees sheltered us from the scorching 
sun and a pond fed by an icy fountain cooled our drinks to 
perfection. 

Here we led the simple Ufe — ^rose and bathed in the pond soon 
after daybreak — a frugal breakfast at eight — ^work till three — ^then 
dinner — after that a ride or a scramble over the beauty-haunted 
mountains, peering into the homes of fairies and wood-nymphs 
and heavenly beings ; back for tea at eight or nine— a smoke— and 



350 Memories 



then bed, to be awakened long before the sun by the silvery tink- 
ling of the bell for matins. Sometimes in the dead hours of the 
night, dreaming, I hear the music of a little bell and know that 
I am being wafted across fifty years of memory, over twelve thousand 
miles of sea and land, to the Temple of the Azxure Clouds, where 
the sacristan is as of old calling the good monks to morning 
prayer. 

I had my teacher with me and was hard at work. There is 
a pretty fable which tells how Confucius and his disciples in sur- 
roundings not more romantic than these used to work on into 
the night, studjnng by the light of the fire-flies. Here, too, the 
pretty creatures swarm, tiny wandering electric lights, winging 
their bright way among the shrubs and trees of the sacred gardens ; 
but we, more prosaic than the sages, are content to work by day, 
letting our evenings treasure idleness. What more fascinating 
study can there be than that of a strange language opening out a 
whole vista of new thoughts and ideas ? But if that language be 
of the East, the expression of all the poetic imagery, of the original 
conceptions, of the unexpected twists and turns of the volutes of 
the Oriental brain, then the charm is complete. There is, more- 
over, as an incentive the difficulty : at each step gained the sense 
of achievement, of victory. In the absence of books the task is 
well-nigh hopeless. 

When I reached Peking there was one much thumbed and tattered 
copy of Medhurst's dictionary for the use of the whole Legation. 
Naturally it was wanted for the student interpreters : Morrison's 
dictionary was out of print, and GUes, whose great work is now the 
authority, had himself, so far as China was concerned, not yet been 
invented. My teacher, a quaint little man, so transparently thin 
that I felt almost able to see the garhc which otherwise so richly 
asserted itself, knew no syllable of any tongue save his own, so it 
was a hard matter to come to terms. Substantives — a table, a 
chair, a cupboard — ^it was easy enough to acquire ; some verbs 
are capable of being denoted by signs. But adjectives ! How 
explain that you wish to know the difference between a good table 
and a bad ? Great was my joy when, one fine day. Wade pro- 
duced the first page of his book in MS. Then matters began to 



Peking 351 

go swimmingly, and by the end of the summer I began to babble 
— very childishly — but we must totter before we can walk. 

Students have an easier time of it now. Wade, Giles, Hillier and 
others have beaten a golden road for them and there are plenty 
of books. Soon, moreover, we hope to see a properly equipped 
school of Oriental languages established in London, so that a young 
man may start his work abroad with some previous equipment, 
however slight, to help him in overcoming the first difficulties, 
saving him much vexation and disheartening delay. 

We passed the days of our cloistered life in calm and peaceful 
contemplation as beseemed sojourners sheltered by a Buddhist 
monastery. The studious mornings were relieved by afternoon 
excursions as varied as they were delightful. There were many 
interesting temples to be visited — among others a fane of great 
sanctity called Wo Fo Ssii, the temple of the Sleeping Buddha, a 
gigantic figure IjHing down with a pair of soft velvet boots by the 
couch ready to be put on when it should please the Wise One to 
awaken from the slumber of centuries. Some shrines were perched 
up like eagles' nests upon almost inaccessible crags, others were 
easily reached. The monks and the poor peasants who lived 
around us were always kind, civil, and ever welcoming to the 
red-haired devils. 

All had some element of attraction ; a favourite wandering 
was through the romantic gardens and groimds of what had been 
the Summer Palace — and yet it was sad to see the charred ruins 
of wUat must once have been a succession of scenes each one more 
beautifvil than the last, the final masterpiece of gorgeous Oriental 
luxury and splendour. The Summer Palace really consisted oif 
three parks, of which Yuen Ming Yuen, " the round, bright garden." 
was one, and the name became among foreigners the generic name 
for all three. The park that we used to visit was called Wan Shao 
Shan, " the Hill of Ten Thousand Longevities." It was strictly 
forbidden ground, but the soldiers in charge were a poor tatter- 
demalion crew, and a silver key opened the gates. The third park 
had an even more poetic name that might fit an extravaganza in 
a Western theatre, Yii Chuan Shan, the " HiU of the Fountain of 
Jewels." In the gardens of the Hill of the Ten Thousand 



352 Memories 



Longevities we passed from court to court, from terrace to terrace, 
where the wicked fire had hardly spared a stone — carvings, the 
loving handiwork of consummate artists, had all fallen in scales, 
gradually being ground to powder, lurking places for scorpions and 
lizards and centipedes. Crazy and crank were the steps that led 
from one level to another, steps that had once been trodden by the 
eunuch-guarded beauties of the Court of a magnificent Chien Lung. 

All was one tangle of climbing plants, brambles, wild vines ; 
such stones as remained were overgrown with mosses and lichfens, 
silver-backed ferns, wild asparagus ; strange, sweet-scented herbs 
peered from out of the crannies and chinks. Here and there a tiny 
pavilion, and just one little bronze shriae, a miracle of art, which 
had defied the devouring flames, only served to accentuate the de- 
vastation. At our feet lay the great lake, the surface almost 
smothered with the pink blush of the lotus flowers, now at their 
best, and on it were a few himible fishermen casting their nets for 
such poor, muddy fish as the waters of North China can produce. 
To think of the gaudy court that once housed here an Emperor hke 
Solomon in all his pomp, surrounded by ladies " all glorious within," 
gorgeously-clad eunuchs, officers, ministers, and then to look upon 
the squalor and filth of its present guardians ! — ^wretched, half- 
starved, hardly clothed creatures, with such small pay as should 
have been theirs probably no more than an arrear never to be 
realized. No wonder they fell and betrayed their trust before the 
seduction of a Mexican dollar, even though it was offered by a 
foreign devil. 

By the beginning of August the great heat was due to pass away. 
There came a mighty thunderstorm, like the bursting of giant shells. 
Hailstones as big as pigeons' eggs, made up of a nodule of ice, a 
layer of snow and then an outer coat of ice, came rattling down in 
volleys, driving scorpions and centipedes and other horrors to take 
shelter in our rooms. In three hours the thermometer fell thirty 
degrees, and would not rise again till the following summer. It was 
time to fly back citywards. 

In the two or three days that it took to pack up our various 
belongings the torrents of rain had wrought a transformation scene. 
The dry fields and banks were all bright with a young green growth. 



Peking 353 

and in the meantime the giant millet had sprung to a height of some 
twelve or thirteen feet, so that we rode along the dense paths like 
Gulliver in the fields of Brobdingnag, guessing at our way. 

Now came a season during which the weather was such a joy 
that life was worth the living just for its own sake. Those of us 
who could claim an immunity from official work for two or three 
weeks made ready for a trip to Mongolia or some other happy 
hunting ground. Saurin, after two years, had well earned a holiday, 
and was bound with another man for an expedition beyond the Great 
Wall, and I, having a few days at my disposal before the next mail, 
agreed to go with him as far as Ku Pei Kou, the great pass between 
China and Mongolia. 

Among the great monuments of the world there can be few more 
striking than those of the North of China. Peking itself, that grim 
and grey city with all its mysteries and tragic secrets, is difficult to 
beat. The Great Wall of China at Ku Pei Kou, a most lovely spot, 
where it is still in good repair, overtopping the glorious peaks of 
the mountains, climbing for miles and miles up and down precipices 
where there would seem to be hardly foothold for a goat, let alone 
for a bricklayer and his hod, is a marvel. In places which I saw 
once when I followed its course for some two hundred miles, it has 
now fallen under stress of weather and neglect into mere heaps of 
rubble. But at Ku Pei Kou it is as imposing as it was when the 
Emperor Shih built it, some two hundred and thirty years B.C., to 
hold the Mongol hordes at bay. 

It is perhaps an impertinence to speak of the Tombs of the Ming 
Emperors in the same breath with the great relics of Egyptian 
magnificence. Here we can count at most five centuries — there as 
many millenniums. The great Pyramid of Cheops and the Sphinx 
are in a category by themselves ; and yet in " The Thirteen Tombs " 
there is something of the same largeness of thought, the same fight 
for immortahty. About five miles away from the little town of 
Chang Ping Chou — famous, or rather infamous, as the scene of the 
torture of the British and Sikh prisoners of war in i860 — is a wide 
plain surrounded by hill scenery of great beauty. 

In the midst of this plain, standing out in solemn isolation, rises 
a magnificent stone gateway, designed by some rarely skilled artist, 
VOL. I 23 



354 Memories 



by far the finest specimen of Chinese architecture that I ever saw ; 
altogether a most imposing work. Some way beyond this wonder 
is a second gateway of brick, roofed with imperial tiles, leading to a 
large, square granite building, cruciform inside, in which is a colossal 
marble tortoise, bearing a high, upright tablet, graven on both sides 
with inscriptions, the one telling how the tombs were built for the 
Ming Emperors, and the other how they were restored by the 
Emperor Chien Limg in the eighteenth century. At each comer 
of this building is a triumphal column. Then comes the famous 
avenue of colossal figures in double pairs — the one pair sitting, the 
other standing. Lions, Chih Ling (Kylins), camels, elephants, 
scaled and winged dragons wreathed in flames, horses, warriors in 
full armour, with breastplates reminding one of Medusa's head, 
carrying in their hands swords and maces ; warriors in repose, with 
their swords sheathed and their hands gravely folded on their 
breasts ; councillors ; chamberlains. Beyond this dumb and 
motionless procession, which looked as if it had been congealed smd 
turned into marble by some magician's wand, a broken and ruinous 
stone road, with decayed granite and marble bridges, leads the pil- 
grim in melancholy fashion to the Chief Temple, or Funeral Palace, 
where the great Emperor Yung Lo Ues canonized under the name 
of Wgn. The spot is one of rare beauty, for in a coimtry where 
even the humblest peasant must needs sleep his long sleep in some 
choice place, the Emperors of the glorious Ming Dynasty would 
naturally choose for their graves a sanctuary worthy of their race. 

Behind the great shrine, decorated with all the sumptuous splen- 
dour of which Chinese art is the mistress, is a hDlock, an artificial 
mound covered with trees and shrubs ; in the speaking silence of 
that fair retreat, far from the madding crowd, lie the remains of the 
Son of Heaven. There is a Chinese proverb which says, " Better a 
living beggar covered with sores than a dead Emperor." I wonder ! 

We rode back to Chang Ping Chou, our horses terrified at the 
great images, in which heaven knows what horrors they saw. It was 
a lovely night, and the harvest moon rose in full glory. After supper 
I was impelled to go back, at any rate as far as the mysterious 
Avenue of Statues. I felt that, like Melrose, it should be visited " by 
the pale moonlight." I am glad that I had that inspiration. When 



Peking 355 

I reached the avenue the moonbeams ^were casting their spell upon 
the great, silent, motionless procession. Grim and gruesome flickers 
were playing upon the marble features, showing a sort of life in death ; 
near the further end a vagabond crew — in England we should have 
said of gipsies — ^had encamped for the night, and were crouching 
round their fire, smoking. The flames cast dancing and uncertain 
lights and shadows upon the giant figures till I half felt as if they 
were moving. Far away in the gloom were the thirteen shrines, 
half hidden, nestling among the dark, pine-clad hills — altogether a 
weird and ghostly scene which I can never describe, but which lives 
with me to-day, after all these years. 



The event of our lives in the autumn of 1865 was the arrival of 
the new British minister, Sir Rutherford Alcock, with his family, 
in succession to Sir Frederic Bruce. Sir Rutherford was an able 
man who would probably have made his mark in any profession 
and in any position. But he had so fitted his life to the pectiliar 
exigencies of China and of the pubHc service in that country, where 
he had been for many years a Consul, that his name as the follower 
of Sir Frederic was indicated. 



VOL. I ^3* 



CHAPTER .XVII 
1865 

PEKING 

MR. ALCOCK'S first great promotion to be Consul-General 
in Japan, newly opened to foreigners by Lord Elgin's 
treaty of 1858, though it answered well enotigh, was based upon a 
mistake of the English Government, which was under the delusion 
that China and Japan were one and the same thing, and that experir 
ence in the one country must of necessity specially fit a man to take 
up work in the other. It was like what Victor Hugo said when he 
was asked whether he had ever read Goethe. " Non, mais j'ai lu 
quelques traductions de Schiller ; et apres tout, Goethe-SchiUer, 
Schiller-Goethe, c'est toujours la m€me chose." Well, China and 
Japan were anything but " la m&ne chose," and perhaps Mr. 
Alcock's life and experiences in China were rather a hindrance to 
him than otherwise, as they undoubtedly were in the case of some of 
tie first merchants who established themselves there. 

However, Mr. Alcock came weU through the ordeal, showing great 
courage and determination, and never allowing any afeont to 
England to pass imnoticed. Never perhaps did he show more moral 
courage than he did when one fine day in writing to the Japanese 
Government he signed himself Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary instead of Consul-General, with the intimation to 
the British Foreign Office that they might accept or reject what he 
had done, but that it was necessary in the event of his rejection that 
whoever should be appointed should, in order to hold his own both 
with the Japanese Government and with the foreign colleagues, 
hold that rank. It was a most audacious stroke and it succeeded, 

356 



Peking 357 

because he was quite right, but it probably is the one and only 
case of a man accrediting himself as minister to a foreign Power. 
Whether he also named himself K.C.B. history records not. But 
at any rate the honour was most deservedly bestowed upon him. 

Sir Rutherford Alcock was a man of great ability and high courage. 
During his official life in the Far East he had plenty of opportunities 
to give proof of both. In early life he had been a surgeon, and had 
been attached to the British Legion in Spain, where he earned no 
little reputation for a skill which stood him in good stead when the 
temple occupied by the British Legation at Yedo (Tokio) was 
attacked by Ronins in July, 1861, and poor Laurence Oliphant 
and others were so badly wounded. Oliphant, who had nothing 
but a hunting-crop to ward off the cruel sword-cuts, must have 
been killed had it not been for the merciful beam of the low, narrow 
passage in which he was fighting, which cayght the worst blows. 
For long years afterwards the deep cuts on the woodwork were still 
visible, but the last time I was in Japan, in 1906, I went to see the 
place, and found that the temple authorities had removed the tell- 
tale beam. 

When he returned from the Peninsula he went back to his profes- 
sion as a lecturer ; but rheumatism, due to exposure, had crippled 
his hands and hindered him as an operator ; moreover, he was bitten 
with the spirit of adventure, and in 1844 he accepted an appoint- 
ment as Consul at the newly-opened port of Fu Chou. But it was 
at Shanghai a year or two later that he made his mark, and there it 
was that he achieved what was the most successful work of his life 
in the establishment of the mvmicipality, a new and original venture, 
needing great tact and judgment in order to avoid international 
and other jealousies, besides involving a distinct talent for organiza- 
tion. It was altogether a formidable undertaking, but it succeeded, 
and laid the foundation of similar institutions throughout the Treaty 
Ports of the Far East. 

When Sir Rutherford rettmied to China as Minister he was far 
more in his element as a diplomatic agent than he had ever been in 
Japaji. He had an intimate knowledge of Chinese affairs, which it 
is in no way derogatory to say that he had not of Japanese politics. 
In Japan he, like everybody else, was under the influence of the old 



35^ Memories 



Dutch fallacies, and he did not fully realize the relations between 
the Mikado and the Tycoon. The great scholars, such as Satow and 
Aston and others, had not yet pricked the bubble and babble about 
spiritual and temporal Emperors, and all the other nonsense of those 
days. Sir Harry Parkes had the luck to profit by the new-bom 
knowledge. Sir Rutherford was the victim of the old tradition. 
But when he arrived in China he was master of the situation. He 
was thoroughly at home and up to every move on the board. 

He was a kind and considerate chief, and we all Uked him except 
in the neighbourhood of mail-day. Sir Rutherford's weakness was 
the idea that he was essentially a writer — ^he would have been a 
greater man if he had never written a book about a coimtry which 
he did not understand, or a grammar of a language which he could 
neither speak nor read nor write. But we all have our weaknesses ; 
his was authorship. The despatches which he used to write con- 
tained excellent stuff, but they were spoilt by being spun out to 
interminable lengths of impossible verbiage. To copy those 
effusions with the thermometer at io8° in the shade, with a double 
sheet of blotting-paper between my hand and the foolscap, and a 
basin of water to dip my fingers in from time to time, was Uke being 
private secretary to Satan in the nethermost regions. 

At the Tsung Li Ya-m§n, the ministry of foreign affairs. Sir 
Rutherford was perfect. However knotty might be the point which 
he had to argue, however patent the trickery which he had to resent, 
he was always calm, always courteous, and so the Chinese liked him 
as much as we did. He certainly was persona grata with the Regent, 
Prince Kimg, who was the very real head of the Tsung Li Ya-mgn.* 

The Prince Regent was at this time a tall, well-favoured man, 

shortsighted and pitted with smallpox, which in Chinese eyes would 

be no hindrance to his good looks, for indeed a Chinaman hardly 

thinks of himself as complete until he has " put forth the heavenly 

flowers." Messrs. Bland and Backhouse quote a decree of the 

wretched Emperor Ttmg Chih in which he announces " we have 

* Sir Rutherford retired in 1871. But he lived for many yeajs after- 
wards in London, devoting himself to all manner of work for the benefit of 
the poor, but especially in connection with hospitals, for which his early 
training and technical knowledge specially fitted him. He died, greatly 
respected, in 1897 at the age of eighty-eight. 



Peking 359 

had the good fortune this month to contract smallpox " — in the 
next month he ascended the Dragon and was wafted on high.* 
The Emperor's edict might serve as a text for the anti-vaccina- 
tionists, nor would his death in the following month have injured 
their cause, for he was such a mass of disease that he was already 
foredoomed, so the " heavenly flowers " were not by themselves 
accountable for his end. 

The first time that I saw Prince Kung was in the month of May, 
a few days after my arrival at Peking. He came to the Legation 
to discuss business with Wade, accompanied by two other ministers 
of the Tsung Li Ya-mgn. The Prince was in high spirits, laughing 
and joking merrily ; he was always good-humoured and genial, 
but that day there was a special reason for his cheerfulness ; he 
had just gone through one of those alternate storms and calms, 
often incident to Oriental life, but specially frequent where the 
gbvemment is conducted with " the suspended curtain " — ^that 
is to say by an Empress who may not be seen. To me he was 
very courteous and kind, and whenever we met afterwards 
he had always a httle friendly greeting for me, never failing to 
chaff me about my single eyeglass which used to furnish him with 
an excuse for interrupting an awkward discussion and so give him 
time for an answer. He was very clever in availing himself of 
it ; perhaps that was the reason why I found grace in his sight. 

Hardly more than a stone's throw from the British Legation 
are the walls of the Forbidden City. Of what might be taking 
place inside that sacrosanct enclosure we knew no more than what 
that most venerable of all publications, the Peking Gazette, was 
allowed to tell us. People used to talk with well-informed 
superiority of coups-d'etat and Palace intrigues, but it was not 
until the appearance of Messrs. Bland and Backhouse's book, 
" China under the Dowager Empress," that the outside world was 
made aware of the intimate history of that masterful woman's 
reign; for a reign it was throughout. Her co-Empress was a 
cipher and the Emperors whom for show's sake she enthroned 
were mere puppets. The pages of that roman vecu are so fasci- 
nating that it is difficult for any reader to put the book down, but 
* " China under the Empress Dowager," I.O.P. Bland and E. Backhouse. 



3^0 Memories 



to those who have hved under the black pall of ignorance in which 
the foreign commiinity of Peking was shrouded it is a revelation. 

We can now appreciate the heroic courage with which Tsii Hsi, 
then a mere girl of twenty-two, defeated the conspiracies of the 
princes who, on the death of her husband, the Emperor Hsien 
Feng in r86i, took her child, the baby Emperor, from her and 
tried to usurp the Regency, It waS a master-stroke of craft in so 
young a, woman to paralyse the conspirators by purloining the 
seal without the impression of which no nomination to the throne 
was legitimate. We know how Prince Kung, the intimate personal 
enemy of the plotters, and the handsome young guardsman, Jung 
Lu, her kinsman, her playmate, and through life her more than 
trusty friend, came to the rescue, and we can understand how it 
was that the former, her brother-in-law, though he had to go through 
alternations of favour and disgrace, was always summoned back 
in moments of storm and stress when she needed his help and advice. 

When I was at Peking Tsu Hsi was a mystery ; no foreigner 
even knew what was her origin — some went so far as to say that 
she was a mere slave girl ; as a matter of fact her birth is now 
known* to have been of the highest. She was a lady of the Yeho- 
nala clan, a family descended from Yangkunu, the great Manchu 
Prince whose daughter married the founder of the Manchu Dynasty 
in China. She was therefore of right royal descent, and her 
pedigree was without a stain, though her father had held no higher 
rank than that of an officer in one of the eight banner corps. 

The first wife of the Emperor Hsien Feng died before he 
ascended the Dragon throne. When the period of mourning for 
his father, Tao Kwang, came to an end in 1852, a number of 
maidens from the chief Manchu families were sent for, out of whom 
the widow of the dead monarch was to choose a certain niimber 
suitable for the harem of the Son of Heaven ; among them were 
the two ladies who as Tsu An and Tsu Hsi, Dowager Empress and 
Empress Mother, were to play such conspicuous parts in Chinese 
history. 

Those who are interested in studying the last phase of the great 
Ching Dynasty must seek its story in Messrs. Bland and'Backhouse's 

* See Messrs. Bland and Backhouse. 



Peking 361 

pages. It will repay them. Few princes have left this world in 
more dramatic fashion than the Empress Tsu Hsi — the Old Buddha, 
as she loved to be called — ^whose last bequest to her people was 
the advice never again to allow a woman to exercise the Supreme 
Power, and not to allow the eunuchs of the Palace to interfere in 
affairs of State ; she who had been ruled by such scoundrels as 
the two favourite eunuchs, Li Lien Ying and An TS Hai ! — a mass 
of contradictions to the last. That she was a woman of amazing 
ability is certain ; competent authorities have praised her scholar- 
ship and held up her edicts as models of style ; she was witty, 
though her wit sometimes was cruel, as when she told the murder- 
ous Governor of Tai Yuan Fu that " the price of coffins was going 
up " — a hint to commit suicide without delay, lest worse befall 
him ; as, in spite of her protection, it ultimately did. 

She was tyrannical and vindictive, yet she contrived to inspire 
affection and to persuade the people that she was kind-hearted ; 
she was false and treacherous, but her power of attraction was 
supreme and the love between Jung Lu and herself, dating from 
boy-and-girl days, long before she entered the Palace^ never 
waned. Unless she has been much maligned she had much the 
worst side of the character of Catherine the Great ; like our own 
Elizabeth she was terrible in her rage, irresistible in her gentler 
moments. Altogether a woman of infinite variety, a scholar, 
a stateswoman, and an artist. 

The edict in which she published to the world her degradation 
of Prince Kung in April, 1865, is like an ^Eschylean chorus. 
Success followed by insolence ; insolence by Nemesis. I have 
no doubt that his somewhat abrupt manner might have been 
very offensive to august ears ; but if it be true that he told the 
two Empresses that if they sat upon their thrones behind the 
curtain it was because he had so willed it, there is no wonder that 
an Empress imbued with the spirit of a Tudor queen should have 
refused to brook such language as that. In a month, however, the 
necessary man was once more called into favour, and then it was 
that I first saw hun. 

I had a great admiration for Prince Kung. It was impossible 
not to be attracted by his bonhomie and his pleasant manner. To 



362 Memories 



me, as I have said, he was always specially courteous. I do not 
suppose that he had any greater love of the foreign devils than the 
rest of his countrsonen ; but if he hated us he had the wisdom 
to mask his dislike. The documents which successive crises have 
brought to light have taught us many a lesson. Your Chinese 
gentleman is a great scribe, and rather than suffer his pen to be idle 
he will console himself in difficult moments by writing down 
voluminous indiscretions ; and so it has become pretty evident 
that even those among the Chinese statesmen who professed the 
greatest friendship for us in their hearts hated us. The Empress 
Tsii Hsi herself, when she coaxed and talked soft nonsense to the 
wives of the Foreign Ministers, told Jung Lu that she knew how to 
win them to her side with rich gifts and honeyed words. How she 
fooled the dear ladies to their hearts' content is well told by Messrs. 
Bland and Backhouse. Nor is this feeling to be wondered at. 
We were self-invited guests in her country ; we needed the trade, 
export and import, of the Chinese who, until we came, were self- 
sufficing ; opium and grey shirtings notwithstajiding, in their 
view we brought nothing but trouble upon them. 

Apart from his undoubted charm of manner, however much or 
however little it might mean, the Prince was a laaxi of undoubted 
talent and strength of character. He was a very young man 
in i860, not more than twenty-three or twenty-four years old, 
and utterly inexperienced in affairs, when his brother, the Emperor 
Hsien F6ng, who was dying by inches, bowed to the storm of 
foreign invasion and fled to Jehol, leaving him in Peking as his 
representative, with full powers to carry on the Government. It 
was a fateful moment. The Allies were victorious. Yuen Ming 
Yuen, the summer palace, was in flames ; the foreign barbarians 
were in possession of the Anting MSn, the northern gate of Peking ; 
a number of prisoners, among them Parkes and Loch, were in the 
hands of the Chinese, by whom they had been shamefully treated ; 
Prince Kung realized the position, and at the risk of his own life 
handed over the prisoners to their chiefs. He acted in the nick of 
time. Hardly had he done so than a messenger arrived post haste 
from JShol, ordering the instant execution of the prisoners. Had 
Prince Kung carried out the Emperor's edict it is difficult to say 



Peking 363 

what the consequences would have been. Certainly Peking would 
have been razed to the ground, and the Tartar djmasty would have 
been exterminated half a century before its knell was finally rung. 

Prince Kung died in 1898. Had he lived a few years longer 
I believe that his sage advice and statesmanship, joined to the 
persistent warnings of Jung Lu, would have saved the Empress 
from the fatal step which she took of fostering the Boxer outrages, 
and the further disgrace of disavowing and executing the very men 
with whom she had conspired, and whom she had egged on to a 
doom from which she did not feel herself powerful enough to save 
them. But she listened to the dupes and ruf&ans who believed in 
the magic rites of the Boxers, and in spite of all her blandishments 
to the easily-gulled Legation ladies before and after, did all in her 
power to urge on the destruction of the besieged ministers, even 
when she was sending them presents of fruit and sweetmeats ! 

In vain did Jung Lu try to impress upon her that the bombard- 
ment " was worse than an outrage, it was a piece of stupidity ; "* 
had the Prince been alive he no doubt, with forty more years' 
experience of affairs to his credit, would have grasped the situa- 
tion in 1900 as he did in i860, and her two most trusted advisers 
would have saved the old Buddha's face. No woman, empress 
or peasant, ever had a more devoted friend than she had in Jung 
Lu — but single-handed he was no match for the army of scoundrels 
and eunuchs by whom she was guUed. 

Prince Kvmg's signature was peciiliar. I believe that it honestly 
represented his character. He did not sign his name or his title, 
but " Wu ssii hsin," " no private heart," i.e. " disinterested." 

Prince Kung's right-hand man was Wen Hsiang, a Tartar 
statesman of great ability, whom it was a pleasure to meet. Like 
his chief, he was always conciliatory and prepossessing; had he 
had the Prince's strength and moral courage he might have 
achieved great things— but there he broke down. The two other 
ministers whom we met the oftenest were Tung and H€ng Chi — 
the former a portly, good-humoured gentleman with a great repu- 
tation as a man of letters, who had turned into Chinese verse a 

* Bland and Backhouse ; cf. " C'est pis qu'une faute, c'est une erreur " 
(Talleyrand on the murder of the Due d'Enghien). 



364 Memories 



prose translation by Wade of Longfellow's Psalm of Life ; the 
latter an old beau, his tail dyed and eked out with false hair as 
sedulously as the head-dress of an aged Court dame in Europe. 
He was very carefully attired, generally in a robe of pearl-grey 
silk turned up with blue. Sir Plume himself was not more ju tly 
vain of his amber snuffbox than HSng Chi was of his tiny s uff 
bottle with its emerald green jade stopper, and the priceless bead 
of the same from which his peacock feather hung ; his red button 
was of " baby-face " coral, and as for the pipe, chopsticks all 
studded with seed pearls, and other small treasures which were 
hidden in the recesses of his velvet boot and the delicate sugar- 
plums and restorative drugs which he produced from the same 
receptacle, they baffled description. A dear little old man withal, 
merry and well preserved, whom we all treated with great respect 
in gratitude for his kindness to Parkes and Loch when in their 
hideous captivity they stood sorely in need of a friend. Was he 
so very fond of the barbarian ? Listen ! 

M. de Mas was Spanish Minister at Peking. He had negotiated 
a Treaty which for many months, even two or three years, could 
not be ratified on account of the many changes of ministry at 
Madrid. At last the ratification came, and M. de Mas, before 
going home, went to pay a farewell visit to His Excellency H6ng 
Chi. Now the said Excellency, being past seventy years of age, 
had a little boy, some four or five years old, of whom he was in- 
ordinately proud — he was the apple of his eye. The polite Spaniard, 
knowing this, asked to see the wonderful product. Highly flat- 
tered, Hgng Chi sent for the child, who arrived with his thumb in 
his mouth, after the manner of all children, Asiatic as well as 
European. " Make your bow to His Excellency ! " said the proud 
father. Not a sign. The order was repeated, not once but twice. 
At last the little creature, taking its thumb out of its mouth, 
solemnly uttered the street cry, " Kwei tzii ! " (" Devil ! ") The 
intimate education of the harem was revealed, and poor old H6ng 
Chi was smothered in confusion. There is a general idea that all 
high mandarins are great scholars. That is not always the case. 
Our old dandy friend, for instance, was as little of a grammarian 
as Mrs. Squeers. Nevertheless he had all the Chinese gentleman's 



Peking 365 

reverence for letters, and kept a learned secretary to read to him 
and keep him up to the mark. 



The terrible part of winter at Peking is the drought ; month 
after month the Emperor goes to the Temple of Heaven to pray 
for rain or snow ; month after month the god, whoever he 
may be, shuts his ears as fast as Ulysses' ship's crew. The cold 
is intense, witness the frozen river and sea ; the fierce wind, tear- 
ing over the desert of Gobi, dries men up till their skins become 
parched, tight and powdery ; their lips are chapped and the black 
dust, that scourge of Northern China, seems to penetrate the very 
marrow of their bones. Russia was not colder ; but in Russia we 
had the brightness and the kindly snow, and the tinkling of the 
sleigh bells gave the winter life and gaiety. In Peking the winter 
WEis as gloomy as remorse. All communication with the outer 
world was cut off. Twice in the course of rather more than 
three months we received mails brought across Siberia and the 
frozen Baikal lake. We could not help feeling that we were caught 
like rats in a trap. Had the people chosen they could have made 
short work of us, and every now and then, by way of cheering us, 
our Chinese writers would bring in reports that on such and such 
a day there would be a rising against us. To these uncomfortable 
rumours we paid no heed. Indeed, in spite of some discomfort 
and the absence of " fireside enjoyments, home-bom happiness," 
I passed the time cheerily enough. I had plenty to do, and was 
getting on with the language, which I used to practise in fair 
weather upon the curio dealers of the Chinese city. 

There was in especial a delightful little man, a bookseller in the 
Liu Li Chang— the Paternoster Row of Peking— who was a perfec. 
cyclopedia of knowledge in all that concerned Chinese art ; be- 
sides his rare books he always had a very small but very choice 
coUection of beautiful objects— pottery, jade, crystal, cloisonne 
enamel, pietra dura ; and at the feet of that GamaUel, I used to 
listen to much antiquarian lore from a teacher who loved his sub- 
ject and revered it. Over a cup of tea, or in summer of anViced 
decoction of date-plum juice, he would spin stories by the hour. 



366 Memories 



He would tell how the last potter of the Lang family died two 
hundred and fifty years before, and how his secrets and recipes, 
inimitable treasures, were buried with him ; how the Ming Emperor 
Ching Tai (A.D. 1450) would with his own sacred hands work at 
cloisonne enamel, called after him Ching Tai Lan — the blue of 
Ching Tai; how in the days of Chien Lung (1736-1796), 
the magnificent, a great patron of art, if a fine piece of crystal or 
jade were brought in as tribute from the western moimtains, a 
committee of taste would sit to appraise its merits, deciding what 
shape should be given to it and to what artist it should be en- 
trusted. A wonderful little man with a huge belly, which, as all 
men know, is the seat of learning, and in his case was choke full 
of it. 

How pleased my small dilettante friend would have been if he 
could have foreseen that two or three specimens that came from 
him would find a home in the British Museum !* Not that he ever 
heard of such a place, but his ideas were out of all proportion to 
his stature, and the thought of a national collection of works of 
art would have appealed to his large and aesthetic soul. 

" Que la vie d'un diplomate serait agr^able sans les chers 
collogues ! " once exclaimed an eminent ambassador. Peking in 
1865-6 would have fitted his Excellency to a nicety. We were 
a very small body, and other foreigners, save a few missionaries, 
were there none. General Vlangaly, the Russian Minister, -was 
always very friendly. We used to go prowling in all sorts of out- 
of-the-way corners of the Chinese city searching out works of art. 
Were we always quite honest with one another on those excur- 
sions ? Perhaps we were more so when we were taking a con- 
stitutional on the broad tops of the mighty walls which separate 
the two cities, when the General would expatiate by the hour 
on the great qualities of the object of his admiration. Sir Frederic 
Bruce. There I could cry, Amen. 

Had there been any of what is called " rank, beauty and 
fashion " at Peking, its favourite 'promenade would have been 
the waU. There we found, peace and quiet, — ^for the public in- 

* Bought at my sale by my old friend Sir Augustus Franks, and now iu 
the collection bequeathed by him to the British Museum. 



Peking 367 

vaded it not, — and comparative immunity from the demon dust. 
It was wonderful to look over the great city — the two great cities 
— to gaze upon the roofs of the inviolable Pa ice Ground^, and 
wonder what mysteries they were hiding. At the southern corner 
of the wall were the beautiful astronomical instruments, master- 
pieces in the interest of which European science entered into a 
happy alliance with Chinese art — the great Emperor Kang Hsi 
with the Jesuit Father Verbiest — in order to furnish after two 
hundred and fifty years a prey for Prussian burglary. At inter- 
vals rose the great fantastic towers, threatening, cruel — suggest- 
ing unspeakable horrors ; for in one of them, as we were told, 
dwelt the chief executioner, like Mauger the headsman in George 
Cruikshank's etching, watching over the Five Lords — Abroad choppers 
like butchers' instruments, on the handle of each of which is carved 
a grotesque hrnnan head. 

Those who have wandered on the walls in the witching hourt 
of night are said to have heard the sound of weird and unearthly 
strains, songs in which the Five Lords are wont to celebrate the 
bloody deeds in which for centuries and more they have played 
their part. Pray that you be not dealt with by the Benjamin of 
the Five Lords, for he is still young and skittish, not more than 
two hundred years old, loving to dally and toy with the heads 
of his victims, unlike his more reverend elders who will strike 
off your head at one blow, impressed with the serious nature of 
their duties. 

No two countries had during the sixties so living an interest 
in China as England and Russia; with England it was a question 
of commerce ; with Russia of commerce and frontier combined. 
Ever since Peter the Great's time there had been Russian missions, 
political and religious, in Peking — ^partly in the interests of the 
Albazines, a small Russian colony on the Amur transplanted to 
Peking, who long since adopted the Chinese language, dress and 
customs, but retained their religion. The northern mission was 
under the Archimandrite Palladius, the southern under the 
Minister. That is how it happened that when the Allied Armies 
were before Peking in i860 the then Minister, General Ignatieff, 
admiringly celebrated by the Turks afterwards when he was 



368 Memories 



Ambassador at Constantinople for his talent in concealing the 
truth, tried to persuade Prince Kung that if only the Prince would 
yield to Russia's requests, he would be able to ward off all danger 
by interceding with Lord Elgin. Prince Kung, yoimg and new to 
affairs as he was, saw through the trick ; " Codlin's the friend, not 
Short," was no use, the fly had no mind to enter the spider's 
parloxu:. 

Years after I met General Ignatieff at Contrex6vllle. How 
clever he was, and how well he gauged the Chinese ! It was at 
the moment when the great Li Hung Chang was in Europe. Lord 
Salisbury flirted with him, and in the interest of Krupp and other 
firms the Kaiser made his children play about the great mandarin's 
knee and call him " Uncle Li." But it was all no use ; Li went 
back to China and not a sixpenny order was given. How General 
Ignatieff and I laughed over the daily reports of all that sordid, 
commercial and absolutely barren love-making ! 

The Archimandrite Palladius, who had been in Peking ever since 
1840, told me that he had never had any difficulty in holding 
intercourse with the people. The intermarriage of the Albazines 
with the Chinese had led to many conversions, and he, with the 
help of his three subaltern priests, was always able to keep up his 
services and schools. 

There was no French Minister ; M. De Bellonet was charge 
d'affaires, a clever, very agreeable man who hated China and 
the Chinese, and cursed the day on which his fate sent him out 
of Europe. His chief delight was in plaguing the ministers of 
the Tsung Li Ya-m§n. Rarely he left his own house ; when he 
did it was either to " flanquer une pile " at the ministers, or to 
pay some inevitable visit of ceremony which 'he loathed. I asked 
him once why he never went to see any of the beautiful and cmious 
sights in and around Peking. " A quoi bon ? " he answered. 
" Lorsque je rentrerai a Paris je dirai k mes amis que j'ai vu tout 
cela ; 9a revient au m§me." 

One day I went to call upon him and found him with a small 
gang of coolies making some improvements. I asked him how 
he managed to give his orders without knowing a word of Chinese. 
He answered : "^Mon cher ami, j'ai ici le meilleur interpr^te du 



Peking 369 

monde — le Professeur Bambou " — and with that the httle man 
viciously twirled a huge walking-stick. The coolies trembled. 

He was very amusing and I liked him much, and was sorry 
when he made the great mistake of his life through not realizing 
the famess of the cry to Loch Awe. There was missionary trouble 
in Corea. De Bellonet felt certain that if he started a punitive 
expedition he would be supported by the Church and the Empress 
Eugenie. Promotion a certainty. But Corea is a long way off; 
it was further off in those days than it is now. My poor friend 
was disavowed, and after having been charge d'affaires in China, 
was sent as second secretary to one of the Scandinavian courts. 
Humpty Dumpty's fall was not more terrible. As attache he had 
a curious little Flibbertygibbet of a man, very clever but always 
in hot water, a never-failing source of amusement and study to 
Wade. The interpreter was M. Fontanier, who was murdered 
at Tientsing in the massacre of 1870. I shall allude to that story 
later oiu 

The Prussian Minister soon went on leave, and the Don had 
gone home to Spain hugging his precious treaty. At the American 
Legation we had as charge d'affaires Dr. Wells Wilhams. He and 
his wife were a charming couple ; no longer young, but both very 
handsome, hke delightful old family portraits. They might have 
been members of the pilgrimage of the Mayflower. Dr. Wells 
WiUiams went out to China originally in some technical capacity 
in connection with the American missionary press at Canton ; 
soon he drifted into sinological studies and wrote a dictionary and 
other works ; but his magnum opus was " The Middle Kingdom," 
a book of great authority upon aU Chinese matters up to the date 
which it reaches — a perfect cyclopaedia of antiquarian, historical 
and political lore, a book of reference without which no man who 
cares for the Far East is completely furnished. 

One evening when I was dining with him the talk turned upon 
paper currency. I made a note at the time of what he said, and 
reproduce it now as interesting at a time when we are going back 
to bank-notes of £i and los. During the reign of the Emperor Shao 
Hsing of the Sung Dynasty (A.D. 1170) copper was scarce, so the 
Government issued two classes of Chao (notes), great notes (Ta 
VOL. I 24 



37° Memories 



Chao) of the value of from one thousand to five thousand copper 
cash, and small notes (Hsiao Chao) worth from one hundred to seven 
hundred cash. Officers were appointed everjrwhere to issue and 
receive these notes. They were renewable within seven years, 
and fifteen cash in every thousand were deducted for the expense 
of making them. They were said to be Kung ssu pien — con- 
venient for both public and private use — and Marco Polo mentions 
them with praise. Dr. Wells Williams was always interesting, 
and his wife had all the charm of beauty, motherly kindness and 
soft gentleness, illuminated by an intellect of no common order. 

Besides General Vlangaly there were at the Russian Legation 
M. Glinka, second secretary, a great gentleman, and Dr. Pogojeff, 
a very clever doctor and a good friend of mine, hailing from Odessa. 
That, in addition to the Russian Archimandrite, was all the foreign 
community of Peking in 1865. Glancing back over this short 
sketch of our life in Peking, I am struck by one very sad 
thought. Of all the men that I have mentioned so far as I know 
not one is still alive. I alone am left, the last of the Mohicans. 

So the year 1865 died, and 1866 reigned in its stead. 

It does not often happen to a man to keep three new years* 
feasts in one year. This is what befell me at Peking. On the 
1st of January at early dawn our Chinese servants came to bend 
the knee and wish us all happiness and prosperity ; twelve days 
later good manners demanded that I should go and salute General 
Vlangaly and the good Archimandrite Palladius ; and finally on 
Feb. 14th crackers and squibs announced the approaching birth 
af the Chinese new year — characters of good omen were pasted 
on the doorposts of the houses, from which streamers of pierced 
red paper fluttered like lace. 

On this day it is essential that there shoiild be much noise and 
popping of fireworks, for there are many demons to be exorcized, 
evil spirits of the past year — especially the spirit of poverty — ^to 
be driven away ; on the morrow Peking must be in gala trim., 
and in the din and clatter of drums and tambourines and cjnnbals 
and clappers and gongs and other instruments of percussion and 
aural torture, there will be m.uch joy. Outside the huge main gate 
there will be a great gathering in front of a small temple roofed 



Peking 371 

with yellow imperial tiles, the shrine of Kwan Ti, the God of War, 
where the faithful with many genuflexions and reverent bows 
will receive from the priest, for cash, a slip of bamboo drawn at 
haphazard to be exchanged for a piece of paper upon which will 
be inscribed the fate of the votary for the coming year. In the 
street of bookshops there will be a huge gathering with " all the 
fun of the fair," toys, quack doctors, jugglers, beggars, mounte- 
banks, a dentist with a great store of extracted teeth, mostly 
sound, above all — noise ! and there will be a peepshow in which 
all the famous places of the world will be represented, and St. 
Paul's Cathedral and the Bay of Naples will do duty as special 
features of the Liu Kiu Islands ! Not so very different from the 
Windsor Fair of old Eton days after all ! " Homo est animal 
bipes, implume, et cachinnans " — the same the world over. 

By way of varying our amusements we managed with some 
difficulty to flood a small courtyard for skating. The ice never 
held good for long, for the dust made it impossible, and then we had 
to begin all over again. Once we rode out to the Summer Palace 
to picnic and skate upon the great lake. That was delightful. We 
were none of us great performers, but such as they were, our twists 
and turns excited the wonder of the Chinese soldiers. What amazed 
them above all was going backwards ; that they could not under- 
stand, for although skating was part of the driU of the braves of 
the Tartar Banners, it was of a very elementary character : just a 
bone skate tied on to one foot, the other foot being used to push. 
I wonder what they would have said if they could have seen Mr. 
Grenander, or one of the great artists in patinology. 

Happy as I was at Peking, and delightful as are my memories of 
the grim old place, I must admit that the winter was long and dreary 
enough. But at last one day, as M. Vlangaly and I were wandering 
up and down on the city wall, we spied a small, half-starved weed 
trying to poke its nose out of a chink between two stones. The dove 
was not more welcome to the Ark. It meant spring. Soon the view 
from the wall would undergo a transformation. First all the 
courtyards and gardens of the temples and dwellings of the great 
people would be bright and gay with the blossoms of peaches and 
apricots and all maimer of flowering shrubs, and later on — in summer 
VOL I. 24* 



3/2 Memories 



— the huge city would be like one vast park, with here and there a 
patch of shabby red wall and a glimmer of yellow tUes — the Imperial 
colours — peeping through the wealth of greenery. 

The coming of spring was aU the more looked forward to by me as 
I had in prospect a trip to MongoUa ; as a matter of fact, I made two 
such journeys, and very delightful they were ; but of these I have 
written an account elsewhere.* 

I passed the weeks of great heat in a temple even more delightful 
than that of the Azure Clouds — a monastery some twenty-three 
miles from Peking, very secluded, hidden among the mountains, 
in the midst of enchanting scenery. Ta chio ssu, the Temple of 
Great Repose, stands in a perfect nest of trees, jimipers, pines, firs 
and poplars. Out of the living rock behind the Pavilion of the 
Resting Clouds a deUcious foimtain plays into a fern-clad pool, 
from which it finds its way through a succession of courtyards past 
the " Hall of the Four Proprieties " in which there is an Imperial 
throne. Could a man wish for a happier spot in which to work and 
dream ? 

Meanwhile I was under orders from the Foreign Ofl&ce to leave 
Peking and go to Japan. At the end of September I started. 

How well — let me say it again — Baroness von Heyking under- 
stood the magic of Peking and its power of fascination amid so much 
that is sordidly repellent ! As I sadly rode out of the gate at which 
I had entered so full of enthusiasm some eighteen months before, I 
met a miserable beggar, a poor creature so filthy and degraded as to 
be scarcely human. Ragged and bare almost of everything save 
sores and clotted dirt as he was, I almost envied that unhappy 
wretch. He was going in, I was going out — and well I knew that 
never should I return. 

• "The Attache at Peking." Macmillan, 1900, 



CHAPTER XVIII 
1866 

JAPAN 

ALTHOUGH in one shape or another I have written a good 
deal about the Land of the Gods, I have hitherto refrained 
from saying much about my own personal experience in that country, 
or about the part which was played by Europeans, and more 
especially by the English Legation, during the great upheaval 
which resulted in the uniting as a solid nation of that Japan which 
for centuries had been an agglomeration of more or less independent 
principalities. I felt that there was much that could hardly be 
written without indiscretion until a considerable time should have 
elapsed. Now practically half a century, has gone by since the 
curtain was rung down upon a unique and most interesting drama, 
and the Japanese themselves speak of the times of which I am writing 
as " Mukeishi " — " in the days of old." One after another the actors, 
Japanese and Europeans alike, have disappeared, and I think that 
the day has come when so much as we know about what took place 
in a revolution which has had such far-reaching consequences ought 
to be recorded, if only as matiere four servir d I'histoire. 

Moreover, lest those who travel in Japan of to-day should set me 
down as a second Baron von Miinchhausen, I am anxious to say my 
say whUe there is yet at least one man alive who can corroborate 
it, or scourge me if I depart from the truth. That man is Sir Ernest 
Satow, my old friend and colleague, to whom it was largely due that 
the sun shone so brightly on my days in Japan, and that the adven- 
turous episodes through which we lived together — troublous as they 
often were at the time — have remained with us only as joyous 
and picturesque memories for a garrulous old age. 

373 



574 Memories 



Those who have the patience to struggle through these stories 
of a dead past will understand what the great Field-Marshal Prince 
Oyama meant when, in 1906 at an exhibition of Jujutsu at Tokio 
by a Japanese young lady, he turned round to me and said : " Some 
of that girl's tricks would have been pretty useful to you in the old 
days that you and I remember ! " 

The voyage from Shanghai to Yokohama in October, 1866, was 
a true harbinger of the stormy times through which I was to live 
for the next three or four years. We left Shanghai in the early 
days of October with a falling barometer, and when w& got out to 
sea we found a typhoon in full blast. There was a fierce sea running, 
but the force of the wind was so great that it blew the foam like a 
carpet spread over the waves, so that had it not been for the tossing 
of the ship, we might have fancied ourselves travelling over a smooth 
surface. It was a wild experience, and right thankful we were, 
passengers and ship's crew alike, when we finally came to an anchor 
outside Yokohama. 

My first landing in Japan was a gloomy disappointment. Could 
this be the fairy land of whose beauties we had heard from Sherard 
Osbom, Oliphant, and the earlier travellers ? The sky was grey, 
sad, and unfriendly ; gusts of wind turned umbrellas inside out and 
defied waterproofs. Where was Mount Fuji the peerless, the 
mountain of the Gods ? Veiled, curtained and invisible, like the 
charms of an odalisque at the Sweet Waters of Europe. The low 
eaves of what seemed to be a custom house were mere runlets of 
water. Drip, drip, drip ! In front of the building a number of 
yakunin, small government employes, bristling with sword and 
dirk, did in sad-coloured robes with quaint lacquer hats, a mob of 
coolies with rain-coats made of straw, looking like animated haycocks 
sodden in an unpropitious season ; a woman or two clattering and 
splashing in high wooden pattens, carrying babies sorely afflicted 
with skin diseases slung behind their backs — a melancholy arrival, 
in all truth, and sufficiently depressing. All but half a century ago ! 

But of such a crowd as this — bowmen, spearmen and swordsmen, 
for they were little more — was made up the brotherhood which in 
some four hundred and eighty months was to win its place in the 
sun, tearing to tatters China's boasted supremacy in the Far East, 



Japan 375 

sweeping a great European navy off the face of the seas, taking, 
not once but twice, by sheer dogged valour and patriotism, scorn 
of life and scorn of death, the famous citadel which men said could 
set at nought the science and heroism of the civilized world. 

For the first two or three days, until a lair of my own could be 
made ready for me, Sir Harry Parkes took me in and lodged me at 
the Legation, a rather rickety but comfortable bungalow on the 
bund. The first night at dinner, perhaps owing to the dismal 
weather, the conversation turned upon lugubrious subjects — ^the 
anti-foreign feeling in the country ; the murders of Richardson, 
and more recently of Baldwin and Bird ; the bloodthirsty attacks 
upon the Legation by Renins in the time of Sir Rutherford Alcock 
and Colonel Neale. After all this raw-head and bloody-bones sort 
of talk we went off a little dolefully to bed. In the dead of the 
night I was awakened by the clatter of wooden sliding doors, the 
rattling of glass, and the shaking of the whole bungalow — ^it was the 
din of the infernal regions. I jumped up and seizing my revolver, 
rushed out into the passage, quite expecting to see it full of Renins 
with blades reeking gore. Fiill indeed the passages were — ^but not 
of Renins ; for every soul was on the alert, revolver in hand, ready 
for deeds of derring-do. But it was no mortal foe that was attacking 
us. It was an earthquake. The devils that stoke the fires of the 
infernal regions were at work, and we could hardly fight them 
with revolvers ! For a few minutes it seemed as if the buUding 
must collapse hke a house of cards ; but it managed to hold together, 
and all was quiet ; so we went to bed again, and when we awoke 
next morning the sun was shining, the mist had all faded away, the 
air was crisp and sharp, and the day was full of glory. 

Walking out that afternoon and suddenly coming in full view of 
Mount Fuji, snow-capped, rearing its matchless cone heavenward 
in one gracefully curving slope from the sea level, I too was caught 
by the fever of intoxication which the day before had seemed quite 
inexplicable — a fever which bums to this day, and will continue to 
bum in my veins to the end of my life. 

It so happened that during the next few days there was little 
work to do, and so, under the kindly guidance of my old friend 
Satow, I was able to wander about the neighbourhood of Yokohama, 



37" Memories 



making short excursions in the country, now in all the bravery ol 
its autumn beauty ; and what can be more lovely than those valleys 
with the rich cultivation below, and the hillsides covered with 
" the scarlet and golden tissue of the maples " fringed by graceful 
bamboos, standing out against the dark green pines and sombre 
cryptomerias ? Very picturesque and attractive are the Shinto 
shrines, and the eaves of the Httle Buddhist temples peeping from 
among the rocks, half hidden by the varied foliage which embowers 
the choicest spots. It is a farmers' country, and Inari Sama, their 
patron god, with his attendant foxes, has his full meed of worship. 

When I arrived in Japan the country was politically in a state of 
fever ; it was on the eve of an earthquake which has upset the whole 
balance of the world and of which the full effects have perhaps not 
yet been felt. In that upheaval the European influence was a factor 
of which hitherto little notice has been taken, for obvious reasons ; 
but it nevertheless played a very real and important part. In 1866 
that influence resolved itself into the struggle for dominance between 
two men — Sir Harry Parkes and M. Leon Roches, the French 
Minister. 

Sir Harry Parkes was certainly a very remarkable person. He 
was a small, wiry, fair-haired man with a great head and broad 
brow, almost out of proportion to his body ; his energy was stupen- 
dous, he was absolutely fearless and tireless, very excitable and quick 
to anger. Having been sent out to China as a boy of thirteen in 
1841, he learnt the language with almost superhuman industry, 
and was doing important work as interpreter, often in most 
dangerous expeditions, at an age when other boys are yet wondering 
whether they will ever get into the school eleven. His career in 
China is too well known for me to refer to it here. When he was 
only thirty-eight years old he was appointed Minister to Japan, 
and there later in the year I joined him. 

He often expressed to me his regret that his education had been 
so early broken off. The loss weighed heavily upon him. Yet no 
man would have suspected him of want of literary culture. He must 
have created time, for busy as his life was, he had read greedily, 
and he often took me by surprise in unexpected ways ; his great 
shortcoming as a diplomatist was want of knowledge of French. 



Japan 377 

. L^on Roches, the French Minister, was a handsome swash- 
Duckler, who had been an interpreter in the French army in Algeria. 
He was far more a picturesque Spahi than a diplomatist. 

The ministers of the other Treaty Powers were mere cyphers. 
Herr von Brandt, the Prussian Ministfer, a man of great ability, 
was away at home, taking advantage of his leave to render signal 
service to his country during the war of 1866, for which he received 
the thanks of the great Bismarck. When he returned to Japan 
later in the revolution he too played a conspicuous part. 

It is not too much to say that Parkes and Roches hated one another 
and were as jealous as a couple of women. In the struggle between 
the Daimios and the Shogun the beau sabreur backed the wrong 
horse. Parkes had at his elbow a man of extraordinary ability in 
the person of Mr. Satow. He it was who swept away all the cobwebs 
of the old Dutch diplomacy, and by an accurate study of Japanese 
history and of Japanese customs and traditions, realized and gave 
true value to the position of the Shogun, showing that the Mikado 
alone was the sovereign of Japan. Nor was this aU. His really 
intimate knowledge of the language, combined with grea; tact and 
transparent honesty, had enabled him to establish friendly relations 
with most of the leading men in the country ; thus, young as he 
was, achieving a position which was of incalculable advantage to 
his chief. 

There was another man, Mr. Thomas Glover, a merchant at 
Nagasaki, who also rendered good, though hitherto imacknowledged, 
service in the same sense. Parkes had the wit to see the wisdom ot 
Satow's policy and the value of his advice, and, having recognized 
it, he had the courage and determination to carry it into effect, 
giving the whole of his moral support to the Daunios, while Roches 
persisted in the vain endeavour to bolster up the Shogim, whose 
power had dwindled away to vanishing-point. 

One day Parkes came into my room hke a whirlwind, his fair, 
reddish hair almost standing on end, as was its way when he was 
excited. " What is the matter. Sir Harry ? " I asked. " Matter ! " 
was the answer. " What do you think that fellow Roches has just 
told me ? He is going to have a mission militaire out from France 
to drill the Shogun's army ! Never mind ! I'll be even with him. 



^yS Memories 



I'll have a mission navale 1 " — and he did. Three months later 
out came the mission militaire, with Captain Chanoine at its head — 
Chanoine who afterwards became famous when, as general, he was 
for three days War Minister, and resigned owing to the Dreyfus 
affair. My old friend. General Descharmes, then a captain, was the 
cavalry officer, and arrived with a grand piano and a whole reper- 
toire of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, etc. He was a really great 
musician, which did not hinder him from being a first-rate soldier.* 
Brvmet was the artilleryman ; he afterwards got into a scrape by 
taking command in the Shogun's army, when it made its last stand 
at Wakamatsu in the northern province of Aidzu. Du Bousquet 
represented the infantry, and became a competent Japanese scholar ; 
Caseneuve was the fifth officer. 

Not very long afterwards Captain Tracy and the mission navale 
appeared upon the scene as Parkes' counterblast. 

Who could have foretold that the foundation of the marvellously 
successful Japanese army and navy should have had its origin 
in the jealousy of the English and French Ministers ? It was 
indeed a pregnant episode, of which, so far as I know, no notice 
has been taken. No doubt the effect of the two missions only 
hurried on and brought to a head what must ultimately have 
taken place, although the change would have been slower, retarded 
perhaps for many years ; for anyone who is acquainted with the 
Japanese character must see that once the seclusion of centuries 
was broken into, and the country entered into the comity of 
nations, the ambitious aspirations of a people so deeply moved 
by national sentiment would never have been satisfied with an 
inferior position. 

Monsieur Roches had a whole network of schemes for the estab- 
lishment of French monopolies — docks, harbours, arsenals and 
what not. But all these depended upon the permanence of the 
Shogun's power. And even if that had been effected by his 

* Years afterwards, when Descharmes was military attach^ in London, he 
came to dine with us. Joachim was of the party and had brought his violin 
quite unexpectedly. He asked for an accompanist. I had asked no one for 
the purpose, little thinking that it would be required. Descharmes sat down 
and played the accompaniments at sight, to Joachim's amazement and 
great satisfaction. Both violinist and pianist are now alas I dead. 



Japan 379 

support, there would have been diplomatic wigs upon the green 
before he would have been able even to initiate his ambitious 
designs. Our chief was far too wide awake for him. 

Political changes or upheavals are probably seldom or never 
due to one cause only. They are rather brought about by com- 
binations in which several, or perhaps many, factors play a part. 
In any case, in Japan the psychological moment had arrived. 
The usurped rule of the Tokugawa Shoguns had wrought no little 
good in the country ; two hundred years of peace — after centuries 
of internecine civil wars — ^were something to their credit, some- 
thing for which men might well be thankful. The natural evanes- 
cence of gratitude, however, was hurried on by the despotic laws 
laid down by lyemitsu, the third Shogtm of the dynasty— the 
grandson of its fotmder, lyeyasu. lyemitsu had been dead for a 
hundred and sixty years and more, aaid his successors, far from 
inheriting his masterful spirit, had lapsed into sloth and political 
impotence. It took some time even in those circumstances for 
the end to come — but it came. 

It was not to be supposed that proud nobles hke Satsumla, 
Choshiu, Tosa, and the fabulously wealthy Kaga should remain 
for ever in almost servile subjection to an effete despotism vmder 
conditions which it is difficult now to realize. Why should they 
do homage to a ruler — at most the self-appointed vicar of their 
real sovereign? Why should they submit to enforced residence 
in his capital, leaving behind them, if they went home to their 
own provinces, wives and children as hostages for their return ? 
Why should they be deprived of all voice in the affairs of their 
country ? The thing was unthinkable. 

One main cause of the fall of the Tokugawa power came from 
within. When lyeyasu estabUshed his dynasty he made provi- 
sion for its continuance in case the direct line of his son Hidetada 
should fail. He directed that in that case the Shogun should 
be chosen from the descendants of his sons, the Lords of Ki, Owari, 
and Mito. The second of the Lords of Mito, Tokugawa Mitsukuni, 
who has been called the Maecenas of Japan on account of his 
own scholarship and his encouragement of learning in others,* 
* See Professor Longford's admirable " Story of Old Japan," p. 312. 



380 Memories 



employed a number of the best scholars of the Empire to produce 
the Dai Nihon Shi, the history of Japan from the days of the 
fabulous Jimmu Tenno down to the abdication in A.D. 1413 of 
the Emperor Go Komatsu. (Mr. Longford reckons him as the 
99th Mikado ; but the Dai Ichi Ran makes him to have been the 
loist.) 

The book was not printed until 1857, but it was largely circu- 
lated in MSS. and so it came about that the grandson of lyeyasu 
was largely responsible for the scattering broadcast of a book 
which, as it was written to prove the sole supremacy of the Mikado, 
was one of the earliest blows struck at the Shogun's power. Nay 
more. By one of those coincidences in which the irony of fate 
reveals itself, it was upon his own descendant, Tokugawa K6iki, 
the third son of a later Lord of Mito, that the final blow fell. In 
1827 appeared the Nihon Gwai Shi,* " the foreign history of 
Japan," which is a history of the Shogvmate from its first founda- 
tion by Yoritomo in the 12th century. These books had created 
a ferment in the country — at least among the lettered classes 
— ^which nothing could allay, and the great nobles were ready and 
eager for a revolt. 

Kingdoms and governments and systems wear out like old 
clothes, and the once glorious, trefoil-crested Jim-Baori (weit sur- 
coat) of the Tokugawa Shogun was beginning to show many signs 
of wear and tear, when the arrival of Commodore Perry with four 
little American ships caused the beginning of the last fatal rent 
in its silken tissue. The Bakufu, the Government of the Shogrm, 
were paralysed with fear ; they were at their wits' end, and when 
the United States commander proposed a treaty — a very modest 
agreement, asking nothing more than access to three harbours of 
refuge — they referred to Kioto for instructions — they who were 
supposed to rule Kioto — and they appealed for advice to the 
Daimios whom they claimed as feudal subjects. In the mean- 
time, as a protective measure against the foreigner they called out 
the fire brigade of Yedo — ^some fifty miles away from where the 
western ships were Isnng ! The ringing of those fire-bells tolled 
the knell of the Shogun's power. Commodore Perry quickly 
* See Mr. Longford ut supra. 



Japan 381 

sailed away, saying that he would come back in a year for an 
answer ; when he returned his modest httle treaty was at his 
command. In 1858 Lord Elgin and Baron Gros concluded the 
first substantial treaties opening the country to foreign trade. 

These few lines seem indispensable for an understanding of 
what- was to take place in 1867 and 1868. Those who wish for 
details must be referred to the histories of Sir F. O. Adams and 
Professor Longford. 

To return to my own story. A week had hardly passed away 
from my first landing in Yokohama when I was installed in what 
seemed to me the daintiest little cottage in the world. It was 
built of fair white wood and paper, not much bigger than a doll's 
house, and quite as flimsy ; it had a tiny verandah, decked out 
with half a dozen dwarf trees, looking on to a miniature garden 
about the size of an Arab's prayer carpet, and was one of a group 
of three isuch dwellings, the other two being occupied by Mr. Satow 
and Dr. Willis — so we formed a small Legation colony on the out- 
skirts of the native town. It was all on so miniature a scale that 
it seemed as if one must have shrunken and shrivelled up in order 
to fit oneself to it. As for Wilhs who. dear man, was a giant, how 
he got into his house and how, once in, he ever got out again 
remained as big a mystery as that of the apple in the dumphng. 

Of course we had a house-warming — also on a miniatiore scale 
— ^with an officer or two of the 9th Regiment as guests, and three 
or four winsome geishas to sing and dance for us. So with Wein, 
Weib und Gesang, and a supper of rice and mysterious dishes of 
fish and bean curd, sent in by a Japanese cook-shop, we spent 
a very merry evening. It was midnight when the little maids, 
with great reverence and many knockings of their pretty heads 
upon the mats, took their leave, and my first Japanese party 
came to an end. The whole cost, including music and dancing, 
came to a little over a dollar a head. I don't suppose that in 
these improved days you could do it for four or five times the money. 

Our little colony was fated to have but a short span of hfe. 
On the 26th of November I was aroused by a violent gale which 
blew in one of the shutters of my home. I got up, but unfor- 
tunately did not dress at once, as I wanted to arrange my furniture. 



382 Memories 



part of which had only been sent in the evening before. As I was 
shaving my Chinese servant came and told me that there was 
a fire two-thirds of a mile off. " All right," I said. " When I am 
dressed I will go and see it." Little did I know of the rapidity 
of flames in a native town. By the time I had shaved I saw that 
there would be just time to huddle on a pair of trousers and a 
pea-jacket. The fire, driven by the raging wind, seemed to be 
all round me. I rushed from the house followed by my dog, who, 
poor beast ! bewildered by the noise and the crowd, bolted back 
again into the furnace, where I found his charred bones the next 
day under the ashes of a clothes cupboard, to which he had evi- 
dently fled for shelter. In an howc or a little more nothing was 
left of the Japanese quarter in which we lived. The wind howled 
and whistled. The flames leapt from roof to roof, the burning 
wooden shingles, driven, as it seemed, for a couple of hundred yards 
finding fresh food for their insatiable greed. There was no crash- 
ing noise of falling timbers such as one hears in a London fire. 
The flames passed over the houses and simply devoured them 
like gun-cotton passed through a burning candle — a wonderful and 
appalling sight. In a few minutes of what had been teeming human 
homes nothing remained but a heap of ashes and a few red-hot tUes. 

Nothing could cope with the fierceness of the attack. The 
Eiiropean quarter was soon under the curse. Stone houses — 
warehouses supposed to be fireproof — were of no avail. Had not 
the wind abated towards the afternoon nothing would have 
remained. As it was, about one third of the foreign buildings 
w£is destroyed. It was the swiftness of the blow that was so 
terrif jdng ; it showed how in a great town like Yedo whole 
quarters, a mile or two square of houses that are just tinder, may 
be eaten up by fire in a few hours. 

There was much loss of life. The next day close to where my 
house had stood I saw a piteous row of corpses charred so that 
their humanity was hardly to be recognized, and was told that 
this was but one of many such rows. The victims were chiefly 
women from the Gankiro where the fire broke out. One partially 
burned body was fovmd in a well into which in her agony a poor 
girl had leaped. 



Japan 383 

My possessions consisted of the pea-jacket, singlet, trousers, 
shoes and socks in which I stood ; but those who had been spared 
were very kind to us. The good English Admiral, Sir George 
King, sent me six shirts with a letter which I treasure. 

In the meantime Sir Harry Parkes had made up his mind that 
he would once more insist upon taking up his residence in Yedo, 
which had been abandoned on account of the attacks upon the 
Legation in Alcock's time and when Neale was charge d'affaires 
— attacks culminating in the destruction by R6nin of the buildings 
which were in course of erection at Goten Yama, a hill above the 
ill-famed borough of Shinagawa, a very pretty spot, which the 
Shogun had assigned as a site for the foreign Legations. It was 
a matter of common talk that Prince Ito in his salad days was 
one of that body of R6nin ; we often used to chaff him about it in 
old times before he became such a great man, but when he was 
already a good friend of ours, and he never denied it — ^but only 
laughed. 

One morning Parkes sent for me to talk the matter over. He 
argued, and I quite agreed with him, that it was a most undignified 
and anomalous position for an English Minister accredited to a 
so-called friendly country practically to waive the right of residence 
in what, if not the true capital of that country, was, at any rate, 
at the moment the seat of Government. And so to Yedo we 
went, remaining only a few days at first in order to make ready 
for our permament abode there. This was in the early part of 
November, a few days before the great fire at Yokohama. 

The buildings which we were to occupy were two long, low, 
ramshackle bungalows, the one for the Minister, the other for the 
rest of us, in a court below the famous temple of Sengakuji — 
where the forty-seven R6nin* are buried. At the gate was an 
out-building occupied by a guard of the 9th Regiment, now the 
Norfolks, from Yokohama. It must seem almost incredible to 
the Japanese of the present day to think of Yokohama being 
guarded by a British infantry regiment, quartered in barracks 
on the bluff above the town ! And this a little less than fifty 
years ago ! 

* See my " Tales of Old Japan " 



384 Memories 



In addition to the English soldiers we had a large guard 01 
Bettegiuni, a corps of Samurai of a rather humble class specially 
raised for the protection of foreign officials, but who were far more 
concerned with spying upon us than fighting for us. Never was 
espionage carried out in such perfection as it was in Japan, where 
in the days of the Bakufu it attained the dignity of a fine art. 
No native official, whatever his rank might be, went forth on his 
business alone. An ometsuke, the " eye in attendance," stuck 
to him like his shadow. No man was trusted, and it is not to 
be wondered at that we also should have been unable to move a 
step without our '"' eyes in attendance." 

The bimgalow barracks under Sengakuji furnished a miserable 
lodging — ^neither doors, windows nor shutters fitted ; there were 
a few stoves, which either got red-hot and smelt of burning iron, 
or gave no heat at all. The wind whistled unhindered through 
long passages and chilly rooms, so that it almost seemed as if we 
should be better off in the open, where, at any rate, there would 
be no draughts. 

On that first evening there was no temptation to sit up late ; 
shivering and shaking, we went to bed very early, but it was long 
before even a pile of blankets could bring enough warmth to enable 
me to sleep. While it was yet quite dark, and as it seemed to 
me the middle of the night, I was awakened by a bugle-call. I 
jumped up and ran, pistol in hand, formidable, breathing bloody 
vengeance, as I did at Yokohama when the earth quaked, to the 
verandah to see what was the terrible danger — hailed the sentry 
outside. " What is the matter ? " " Please, sir, it's only the 
rewelly." Relieved, I crept back into the warmth of my nest. 

What with the discomfort of the buildings, the sensation of 
being closely guarded, and the inquisitive watchfulness of the 
Bett6gumi, we felt as if we were in prison, and so Satow and myself 
begged Sir Harry to allow us to hire a httle temple outside. Our 
chief jmnped at the idea, for he was naturally anxious to do every 
thing that would tend to break the speU of lack of freedom which 
he rightly felt to be most detrimental to any real intercourse with 
Japan. So Mr. Satow and I rented Monriuin, a deUcious little 
shrine a few hundred yards from the Legation, on a tiny hill 



Japan 385 

commanding a lovely view over the bay of Yedo ; we were the 
first foreigners to live out of bounds in that great city. From 
the Bettegumi there was no escape — not even for an afternoon's 
walk, or to go across to the Legation. Otherwise we were free, we 
could hold intercourse with natives, and if we heard the " rewelly " 
it was softened by distance. Forty years afterwards I went back 
to Japan, and of course wished to visit the old place. Alas ! Evil 
times had fallen upon the monks : the dainty little dwelling was 
all rack and ruin, the trim garden a wilderness of unwholesome 
weeds. It was a piteous sight. 

We mounted out little menage very frugally. In order to save 
the expense of a cook, a hatterie de cuisine, knives and forks, etc., 
we got our dinner sent in from a Japanese cookshop ; with rice and 
fish we did well enough — adding now and then a little dish of chicken 
or duck. But there came a day when the weather, having been 
too bad for the fishermen to go out, our restaurateur with many 
apologies sent us a dinner of bamboo shoots and sea-weed. That 
was a jour maigre with a vengeance. 

From that time forth it will be seen that Satow and I hunted 
very much in couples. I was nominally the senior and had to 
draw up the reports of our proceedings, but I may say once for all 
that his was the brain which was responsible for the work which 
I recorded. It is difficult to exaggerate the services which he 
rendered in very critical times, and it is right that this should not 
be forgotten. 

It was well that we had made arrangements for settling the 
Legation at Yedo, for in the lasVdays of December the Legation 
house at Yokohama was burnt down. As the Japanese in their 
letter of condolence to Sir Harry expressed it, " the calamity of 
the dancing horse " had once more made itself felt.* 

• This is borrowed from the Chinese classics ; it seems that in the days of 
the Sung dynasty in China a tower called " the Tower of the Dancing Horse " 
was burnt down, since which time a great fi e is called after it. 



vol.. I 25 



CHAPTER XIXl 

THE SHOGON OR TYCOON 

IN the beginning of 1867 there was a great stir in Japanese 
politics, and it was evident to those who, Uke ourselves, were 
more or less behind the scenes that we were on the eve of what 
might prove to be a critical state of affairs whichever party gained 
the upper hand. Meanwhile the Shogun Iy6mochi had died on the 
19th of September, 1866, and Tokugawa Keiki, who, as I have 
already said, was the third son of the Lord of Mito and whose rise 
was due to the intrigues of his father, succeeded to the office ; he 
soon announced his intention of receiving the foreign ministers 
at Osaka, an ugly city of rivers and canals, a great and important 
trade centre, but with no claim other than its waterwa}^ to be 
called, as it sometimes was, the Venice of the Far East. In the 
first week of February Mr. Satow and myself were sent in a man 
of-war to make the necessary arrangements and settle all the 
questions of etiquette and procedure which might crop up. We 
had with us as guests Captain Cardew of the 9th Regiment and 
Lieutenant Thalbitzer of the Danish Navy. 

We landed at Hiogo and rode to Osaka. Besides a mounted 
escort of ofl&cers soldiers were posted at intervals all along the 
road, and as we passed each post the men fell in and followed 
behind us, so that by the time we reached our destination we had 
a tail of between two and three thousand men. This was pretty 
good evidence of the anxiety of the Government for our safety. 

On landing we heard that the Mikado Komei had died of small- 
pox on the 3rd of February — as a matter of fact he had died on 
the 30th of January, but for some mysterious reason the date was 

386 



The Shogun or Tycoon 387 



given as four days later. His successor, the famous Emperor 
Mutsu Hito. was then a boy of fifteen. Those who knew him had 
great faith in his abihty and predicted great things for hun if he 
should be properly trained. Their forecast was well justified. 
Had the Emperor Komei, who was a deadly foe to all foreign 
intercourse, lived the events of the next few months must have 
been very different. 

When we reached Osaka we found that a pretty httle shrine 
in a street more or less devoted to temples had been prepared for 
our reception. We were feasted and treated right royally, and 
everything was done to make our duties easy and our stay agree- 
able. It will astonish the tourist of to-day to hear that we were 
looked upon as such curiosities that the street m which we lived 
was so crowded with sightseers as to be almost impassable and the 
hucksters and costers of Osaka set up a fair outside our temple, 
where they did a roaring trade in fruit, sweetmeats, cheap toys 
and the like. 

Although our mission to Osaka was nominally intended to 
arrange the ceremonial to be observed at the approaching recep- 
ticai by the Tycoon of the Foreign Representatives, and especially 
of Sir Harry Parkes, it gave an excellent opportunity for obtaining 
information as to the political situation in Kioto. It was during 
this visit that I first made acquaintance with some of the leading 
men of the clans — men who were destined to play a great part 
in the days that were to follow. We were visited by representa- 
tives of both the rival parties, that of the discontented Daimios 
and that of the Tycoon; Foremost among the latter were some 
of the northerners of Aidzu, men who were ready to lay down their 
lives, and did actually die, for the honour of the Tokugawa ; others 
from the Satsuma, Choshiu, Tosa and Uwajima clans were moving 
heaven and earth for the deposition of the Shogun. 

We learned much about the intrigues that were going on at 
Kioto, plots and counterplots of which the interest has long since 
faded away owing to the very greatness of the results which have 
issued from them. The men themselves who kept us so weU in- 
formed have almost all, one by one, been gathered to their fathers 
Komatsu of the Satsuma clan, whom we saw almost daily during 
VOL. I 25* 



388 Memories 



our stay in Osaka, Prince Ito of the Choshiu clan, Kido of the 
same clan, the most brilliant of all — Goto of Tosa whose statue 
stands in Tokio, Nakai, and others aU gone ! The last of our 
special friends, Marquis Inouy6, one of the elder statesmen, died 
a month since. I doubt whether there can be six men alive who 
played a leading part in those stirring events. And during the 
last twelve months the great Mikado, whose reign will always 
be so famous, and the Shogvm whom he magnanimously forgave, 
have themselves gone to the realm of shadows, living only in 
history. 

We had to be very careful in arranging our interviews, for 
naturally we were pretty closely watched by the blessed spies 
who were attached to us " for our protection." Still we did manage 
once or twice to escape from the Argus-eyed and to have at least 
two interviews from which even the less important men of the 
Daimio party were shut out. 

One message which I was desired to give to Sir Harry Parkes 
was, read by the light of subsequent events, supremely interesting. 
It was to the effect that the object of the Prince of Satsuma and 
of the coalition of Daimios was not to upset the government of 
the Shogun, but to prevent it from making a bad use of its powers. 
That Satsuma hoped to see the Mikado restored to the ancient 
honours of his race, because that would contribute to the weal 
of the country ; that their plans and hopes all tended not to revolu- 
tion against the Shogun but to the benefit of the country at large 
— that if Sir Harry, on reaching Osaka, would moot the question 
of a new treaty with the Mikado direct, the Daimios would at once 
give their adherence to the proposal and flock to Kioto to carry 
out this great work. Let Sir Harry help them to this very small 
degree and they would answer for the rest. 

Truly a modest programme ; but I' af petit vient en mangeant ; 
a few short months later it would have excited ridicule. 

We did a great deal of shopping during our stay in Osaka, for, 
of course, we wished to carry away some of the mei-butsu, special 
wares, for which the great city was famous. Lacquer, quaint 
pipes of many patterns, fans, and brocade were temptations not to 
be resisted. Wherever we went we were pursued by huge crowds 



The Shogun or Tycoon 389 



through which a way was cleared for us by petty officials, armed 
only with the Wakixashi or dirk, who kept shouting a sort of crow- 
like cry of Kan ! Kan ! But the mob, friendly but very persistent, 
was not to be shouted away. The attraction was too great. 

When, after having fulfilled our mission at Osaka, we reached 
Yedo we found that a tragedy had taken place in the Legation 
during our absence. There were a good many men who were 
unable to get over the constant dread of murder at the hands of 
the armed swashbucklers who used to ruffle along the streets of 
Yedo, scowling at the hated foreigners and sometimes making as 
though they would draw their keen heavy swords, to deliver that 
first deadly blow which would cut a man almost from shoulder 
to waist — a blow so weU known that we were advised if we saw 
an inch of steel bared to shoot the ruffian at sight. One of our 
young student interpreters was so possessed by the terror which 
haunted him by day and by night that he never went outside the 
gates of the Legation and even petitioned the Chief to send home 
for a couple of Armstrong guns for our better protection, though 
we already had a company of the 9th and our motmted escort. 

One night the poor fellow could stand it no longer. He dined 
quietly with the others and then went off to his room. Two shots 
were heard. His hand must have trembled, for he missed himself 
with the first, the bullet of which was found in the wall ; the 
second shot was fatal. They say that suicide is infectious ; within 
a week there were two more cases in Yokohama. It is hard to 
realize nowadays the conditions of life in the early times of our 
intercourse with Japan. For nearly four years I never wrote a 
note without having a revolver on the table, and never went to 
bed without a Spencer rifle and bayonet at my hand. Think of 
that, you who walk through the streets of Yedo and Kioto, swing- 
ing a dandy cane with as great safety as you would in Regent 
Street or Piccadilly, and thank your stars that the carrying of 
sword and dirk has been abolished by law. 

In the month of May, 1867, Sir Harry Parkes and the rest of 
us went to Osaka for the first reception by the Shogun. 

The Castle of Osaka was, and still is, so far as its outer fortress 
is concerned, a most stupendous monument of feudalism, the 



39° Memories 



crowning glory of Hideyoshi, commonly spoken of as Taiko Sama, 
the son of a woodcutter in the province of Owari, who, towards the 
end of the sixteenth century, became the supreme de facto ruler 
of Japan and the conquerer of Corea. Its walls, " seven fathoms 
thick," as old Kampfer puts it, were built of great blocks of granite 
piled irregularly one above the other without mortar in cyclopean 
pattern or rather no pattern, massive, wonder-raising. Walls 
moated by two rivers, the Yodo and the Kashiwari. Some of 
the stones are more than thirty feet long and nearly twenty feet 
high, sent, as it is said, by way of tribute by the lords of many 
provinces. It is a noble structure, moated, very plain and simple, 
featureless with the exception of the curved roofs of the great towers, 
its very simplicity adding to its granddur ; against a host armed 
with bows and spears, with perhaps a few matchlocks, an im- 
pregnable fortress. Here Hideyori, the son of Hideyoshi, was 
bom, and here he lived with his mother, a woman of great char- 
acter, in full security, and for a while in friendship with ly^yasu. 
The end of that friendship and the fall of the castle of Osaka rank 
among the romances of history. 

Over and over again the great stronghold was attacked by the 
Tokugawa ; twice it was nearly lost by treachery — ^but the garri- 
son always beat off their assailants, until at last a fire brol^ out 
within the castle and there was a panic. Hideyori and his glori- 
ously brave mother were never seen again : they must have 
perished in the flames ; and lyeyasu triumphed only to die some 
months afterwards from the effects of a wound received during 
the siege. After his death he was deified, or perhaps I should 
rather say canonized, as an incarnation of Buddha under the title 
of Gongen Sama. 

It was in this great historic castle that our reception by the 
Shogun took place. Never can anything of the kind be seen 
again. The Shogunate has disappeared and is now only spoken 
of in Japan as something prehistoric ; the last of the Shoguns 
died a few months ago ; the castle itself no longer exists as it then 
was. The outer shell still stands but the magnificent palace which 
it contained was gutted and burnt by the Shogun's own people 
when, after the battle of Fushimi they came back in bitter despair 



The Shogun or Tycoon 391 

aching with the pain of defeat, and many of them stung to the quick 
by the flight of their lord. 

How cruelly this sorrow ate into the hearts of the faithful 
retainers and adherents of the great House of Tokugawa may be 
felt from the following true story. I am anticipating by a year, 
but I am not writing a consecutive history ; only jotting down 
stray notes of a sort of " voyage en zigzag " across my memory. 
When the defeated Shogun reached Yedo and was safely lodged 
(for a short whUe !) in his ancestral castle, a member of his second 
Council, one Hori Kura no Kami, went to him and urged him to 
perform hara-kiri as the only way to wipe out the stain which had 
smirched the august Family To prove his sincerity he declared 
himself ready to do the same. The Shogun is reported to have 
laughed at him, saying that such barbarous customs were out of 
date. Upon this Hori Kura no Kami prostrated himself, making 
due obeisances and retiring to an adjoining chamber, stripped to 
the waist, drew his dirk, and plunging it into himself died the 
death of a noble samurai. 

Tokugawa Keiki was wrong when he said that hara-kiri was. 
out of date as a barbarous custom. It is to this day the end of 
constancy and honour ; witness the death of the great Satsuma 
General Saigo, whom I knew well, in the rebellion of 1877 ; witness 
the self-immolation of my gallant old friend. General Nogi, the 
hero of Port Arthur, two years ago (in 1913) ; broken by grief 
at the death of the Mikado Mutsu Hito he would not outlive the 
master whom he loved, and so he died, and that faithful lady his 
wife died with him. 

During our stay at Osaka we had three Interviews with the 
Shogun ; of these the first was naturally the most interesting, 
although it was only semi-official, for not only had it the taste of 
novelty, but it also afforded the opportunity for a more intimate 
interchange of ideas than would be possible on a state occasion. 
Accompanied by a number of dignitaries of the Shogun's govern- 
ment and escorted not only by our own men, seventeen splendid 
Lancers picked from the Metropolitan PoUce, and a company of 
the 9th Regiment, but also by a small army of Japanese soldiers, 
we rode to the castle in solemn procession. We were privileged 



Memories 



to remain on horseback beyond the place where all Japanese, high 
and low, were required to dismount, and only left our horses at 
an inner gate, immediately opposite the enormous hall of the 
palace, which was, indeed, an inner castle surrounded, as was the 
outer one, by a moat. Here we were received by a number of 
officials of high rank, who led us to a waiting-room where tea and 
various dainties were served. I take the accoimtof our reception 
from a letter which I wrote at the time, on May the 6th, 1867. 

The interior of the palace was far more magnificent than any- 
thing that I had seen in Japan. The walls were covered with gold 
leaf, decorated with those glorious paintings of trees, flowers, birds 
and beasts, for which the Kano school of artists is famous. The 
hangings were the finest rush mats, suspended by gilt hooks from 
which hung huge silken tassels in tricoloirr — orange, red and black — 
the colours of the Zingari ribbon. The upper panels formed a 
frieze, deeply carved by some native Grinling Gibbons in the highest 
style of Japanese art, lavishly gilt and painted ; every panel was 
different, no two aUke. Peacocks and cranes strutting in aU the 
pride of beauty, delicate groups of tender-coloured azaleas, bamboos 
bending their graceful feathiers to the wind, pine trees with foliage 
almost black with age, were the subjects chosen. The uprights 
and cross-beams were of plain impolished keaki wood, fastened 
with metal bolts, capped with nieUo work. The ceiling was coffered 
in squares, carved, gilt and painted, and the divisions were richly 
lacquered in black and gold. Sumptuous as it all was there was 
nothing tawdry or glaring in this fever of splendour, for it was all 
two hundred years old, softened and subdued by the patina of time. 

If old Kampfer's account, or rather, the story told by his in- 
formant, was correct, there once stood inside the palace precincts 
a tower " several stories high, whose innermost roof is covered 
and adorned with two monstrous large fish, which, instead of 
scales, are covered with golden obang, finely polished, which, on a 
clear, sunshiny day reflect the rays so strongly that they may be 
seen as far as Hiogo. This tower was burned down about thirty 
years ago, to compute from 1691." These monstrous fishes were 
examples of the mystic Shachihoko, which are seen on so many 
roofs, and the obang was the great oval gold coin, some five or 



The Shogun or Tycoon 393 

six inches long, flat like a scale, which must have made a rare jacket 
for a fish. 

We were kept some little time in the first room talking with 
the various dignitaries, as is natural in every land, about the 
weather, and then we were led into the reception hall, where, in 
deference to European habits, a table was set out with eight seats, 
and at one end a richly lacquered chair for the Shogun. Here we 
were met by the Gor6jiu (the Council of State, literally " Elders "), 
and the members of the Second Covmcil, and were told that the 
great Prince would immediately make his appearance. 

A few seconds afterwards two of the tall sliding screens which 
wall a Japanese room were slowly and noiselessly drawn aside, 
and that long-drawn " hush " caused by the drawing-in of breath 
which announces the coming of a great personage thrilled all 
through the whole palace like the most delicate pianissimo of a 
huge orchestra ; for a second or two the Tycoon, motionless as a 
statue, stood framed in the opening between the screens, an 
august and imposing figure. All the Japanese prostrated them- 
selves, with the exception of the Gor6jiu and the members of the 
Second Council, who, presumably, only were excused this reverence 
in order that there might be no difference between them and us. 
The great man stepped into the room, bowed, shook hands with 
Sir Harry Parkes " in barbarum," as Tacitus puts it, and we all 
sat down — four Japanese on one side of the table. Sir Harry, Mr. 
Locock, Mr. Satow and myself on the other. Then the Shogun 
rose very gracefully and asked after the health of Queen Victoria. 
This was responded to by Sir Harry standing and inquiring after 
the Mikado. He then led the conversation into business questions. 

The great man, in the course of this unofficial and more or less 
confidential talk, showed that he was well posted as to aU that 
had taken place during the early days after the signing of the 
Elgin Treaty and up to the then present time. He spoke frankly 
and without reserve of the troublous years that we had gone 
through. He deplored the difiiculties which had stood in the way 
of any satisfactory intercourse between his countrymen and ours, 
and announced his determination to inaugurate a better order of 
things. His manner was quite charming. He was at first, not 



394 Memories 



unnaturally, a little shy and nervous, for he had some awkward 
admissions to make, but his great natural distinction and kindly 
courtesy soon shook off all restraint, and he talked freely and easily. 

Certainly Prince Tokugawa Keiki, the last of the Shoguns, was 
a very striking personality. He was of average Japanese height, 
small as compared with Europeans, but the old Japanese robes 
made the difference less apparent. I think he was the handsomest 
man, according to our ideas, that I saw during all the years that I 
was in Japan. His features were regular, his eye brilliantly Ughted 
and keen, his complexion a clear, healthy olive colour. The mouth 
was very firm, but his expression when he smiled was gentle and 
singularly winning. His frame was well-knit and strong, the 
figure of a man of great activity ; an indefatigable horseman, as 
inured to weather as an Enghsh master of hounds. When I saw 
him again forty years later age had altered him but little. He 
had retained all his charm of manner, and though the face was 
lined his features had undergone hardly any change, and the 
distinction of race was as evident as ever. He was a great noble 
if ever there was one. The pity of it was that he was an 
anachronism. 

After about an' hour spent in very friendly conversation the 
Shogun asked to see our escort, who were waiting in an 
inner court of the palace. They showed him lance and sword 
exercise, with which he seemed highly dehghted, but what inte- 
rested him the most was the size of our horses, Gulf Arabs, rather 
a good-looking lot which we had imported from India, and he, as 
a horse-lover, commented a good deal upon their superiority to 
the Japanese native ponies, which certainly are about as mean 
a breed of the genus horse as exists anywhere. 

The Shogun had invited us to stay for dinner. In these days 
(1915) a banquet served in the French fashion in the palace of a 
Japanese grandee is an everyday affair, but at the time of which 
I am writing for four Englishmen to find themselves hobnobbing 
with the Tycoon and his Gorojiu was an unprecedented occurrence, 
impossible anywhere out of dreamland. The great man presided, 
and we were waited upon by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and 
the pages of honour. In the middle of dinner the Shogun rose and 



The Sh5gun or Tycoon 395 



proposed the Queen's health, a complunent till then absolutely 
unknown in the Land of Sunrise, and therefore all the more in- 
dicative of the desire to please. Sir Harry responded with a toast 
in honour of our host. After dinner we adjourned into an 
inner room where the Shogun gave each of us a present of two 
pieces of crape, and a pipe and tobacco-pouch of silk embroidered 
by the ladies of the palace. 

But the prettiest compliment, so gracefully offered, was yet to 
come. The room in which we were was hung round with a number 
of portraits of poets and poetesses which had been presented to 
one of the Tokugawa Shoguns by some Daimio about two hundred 
years before. We were looking at these with no little curiosity 
when the Tycoon insisted on having one of them taken down and 
presenting it to Sir Harry in memory of his visit. Sir Harry 
naturally demurred to accepting it, pointmg out what a pity it 
would be to break the set ; but the Prince would take no denial, 
saying thai " when he looked on the vacant space it would give him 
pleasure to think that the picture that had once filled it was in 
the possession of the British Minister." Could courtesy find a 
higher expression ? 

We remained at the palace tUl past nine o'clock and it was a 
satisfaction to hear next day that the occasion of his first intro- 
duction to Englishmen had afforded our princely host as much 
pleasure as it had given us. 

The State ceremony was, of course, far more stiff and formal, 
but it was also infinitely more quaint, for there was no taste of 
Europe about it. We were living through a chapter, or perhaps 
I should rather say a paragraph of a chapter, taken out of the old- 
world romance of the furthest East. The Shogun and his nobles 
were clad in the immemorial Court dress ; flowing trousers as long 
as the train of a Buckingham Palace great lady, loose hempen 
jackets, and the curious little black lacquer caps like boxes (yeboshi) 
on their heads. You may see them portrayed on golden screens 
and old paintings. In no country that I have seen is Court dress 
triumphant in beauty, but here it was absolutely grotesque, forcing 
the wearers into the most ungraceful shufiiing movements. I 
have no doubt that we seemed equally absurd to our hosts, for 



39^ Memories 



the cocked hat, now the coveted privilege of every Japanese 
official, was then a mystery unknown as the futute which has 
given birth to it. 

On the following day the Shogun returned to Kioto for a meet- 
ing of Daimios whom he had summoned to confer upon the affairs 
of the Empire. Meanwhile our negotiations had gone smoothly ; 
the great man had shown himself to be most friendly, and we 
were in high hopes that the opening of Osaka in the following 
January would be the harbinger of new and happier relations 
between Japan and the Western world. 

There was a talk of my being removed, from Japan at this time. 
I was very unwilling to leave the country at so interesting a 
moment. In a letter written home I find the reason of my re- 
luctance. " If I go I shall miss the opening of Osaka and Hiogo 
to foreign trade which will be the last event of political importance 
in'§Japan in our time." What a blind prophet ! I stayed on, 
but I was fated to see a good many events of greater " political 
importance " than the opening of the two ports. 



END OF VOLtfME I 



Printtdca The Chanel River Prtss, Xingsttn, Surrey.